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Henrg m. Sage 


iM^s ... aM'^. 

Cornell University 

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the Cornell University Library. 

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the United States on the use of the text. 

Zbc IRecorbs of tbe (Tit^ of morwicb. 
mi. I. 


from a work entitled " Civitates Orbis Terrarum," by 
George Braun and Francis Hogenberg, published at Cologne 
about 1577. (From a copy in the possession of the Norwich 
Corporation.) The erroneous spelling in the Reference Table 
is explained by its being the *ork of a foreign printer, 
probably in Cologne, 

Cl}e Jlecorbs 


£itj) of Eoripicf). 

Compiled and Edited 

Rev. William Hudson, M.A., F.S.A. 

{Hon. Editorial Seci-etary of the Norfolk and Nonuich ArchcBological Society, 
formerly Vicar of St. Peter Panne ntergate, Nonvich), 

John Cottingham Tingey, M.A., F.S.A. 

{Hon. Archivist of the City of Norwich). 




(Jlorwtc^: JARROLD & Sons, Ltd., London & Exchange Streets. 
Bott6on: Jarrold & Sons, io & ii, Warwick Lane, E.G. 
(All Rights Reserved). 










Compiled and Edited 



In 1894, the Corporation of Norwich, having acquired the old 
Castle with its annexed buildings for the purpose of forming a 
Museum, took the opportunity of providing at the same time 
excellently arranged accommodation for the valuable collection 
of Muniments hitherto kept in the Guildhall. In this new 
Muniment Room the documents were rearranged in classified 
order by the compilers of this present publication. They after- 
wards made a Revised Catalogue, corresponding with this 
arrangement, which was published by the Corporation in 1898. 

In 1901, the Town Council passed a resolution authorising 
the publication of selected documents, Mr. Hudson and Mr. 
Tingey having undertaken to carry out the work. 

The Compilers, taking into consideration the systematic 
arrangement and cataloguing of the Records, suggested that a 
similarly classified (rather than a purely chronological) present- 
ment of them should be adopted. They advised that this might 
be sufificiently done in two Volumes, one dealing with the 
Municipal, the other with the Economic, History of the City. 

This proposal being accepted, the Compilers agreed between 
themselves that, while in general working together, they would 
so far divide the responsibility as that Mr. Hudson should under- 
take the compilation of the First Volume and Mr. Tingey that of 
the Second Volume. The present Volume, therefore, relates to 
Municipal History only. 

One marked characteristic of the Municipal History of the 
City of Norwich is the natural and normal progress of its 


development. Nothing is done by fits and starts. Every successive 
change admits of easy explanation as arising out of natural 
conditions not only of the local community but of the contem- 
porary national tendencies. No doubt this is true of many other 
cities and towns, but in Norwich more than in most others the 
orderly course of development went on undisturbed by external 
interference. It is a case of a community which practically from 
first to last was left to work out its development in its own way. 

For this reason, and because on the whole the existing evidences 
seem sufficient to tell their own story, very little reference is made 
in this Volume to parallel or variant conditions known to have 
existed in other towns. The chief exception is London. That 
the men of Norwich were from the. first well acquainted with all 
that went on in London may be taken for granted and, in 1194, 
they had specific authority given them to enjoy the same liberties 
and privileges as the citizens of London. But it would seem that 
this was rather a confirmation of customs which they and other 
boroughs had previously enjoyed in common than a grant of 
altogether new privileges. It was not till the change from a 
Communal to a Magisterial form of government in 1404 that we 
find them really adopting London methods and London names. 
Even then they imitated in their own way, as (for example) is 
witnessed by the history of the Norwich Aldermen. They were 
never, as in London, separate Ward Officers, although a party in the 
city at one time desired this arrangement. For a time they were no 
more than Twenty-Four Assessors of the Mayor as their pre- 
decessors had been to the Bailiffs. Then they absorbed the 
functions of the old Ward Constables and finally as a body 
exercised in their Court a good deal of magisterial and even 
judicial authority which rightly belonged to only some of their 
number as Justices of the Peace. 

From this point of view one of the most remarkable documents 
in this collection is the long and elaborate " Composition " drawn 
up by the citizens themselves in 141 5, which formed a permanent 
basis of administration for some 400 years of municipal life. 

The documents given in this Volume are arranged in a few 
main groups ; the Charters ; the Custumal ; the Jurisdiction of the 
City Courts, civil and criminal ; the earlier Police or Leet Jurisdic- 
tion ; the Militia and Muster system. Corresponding with this 
arrangement there are given, at the close of the general Introductory 
Sketch, five prefatory notices of the Charters, the Custumal, the 


City Courts, the Leet Jurisdiction and tiie Militia system. Ttiese 
groups of documents with numerous others from various sources 
will, it is hoped, be found to cover all departments of City 
Government and Administration except one, the office and duties 
of the City Chamberlain. The office itself was so entirely 
dissociated from any controverted questions of municipal principle 
and the duties were so completely concerned with the economic 
conditions of the city that this department of municipal administra- 
tion is reserved for the second Volume. 

Besides the constant and invaluable co-operation of his 
colleague, Mr. Tingey, the Compiler of this First Volume has to 
acknowledge his obligation to Professor Maitland, of Cambridge, 
and, more recently, to Miss Bateson, Fellow of Newnham College, 
Cambridge, for generous assistance towards deciding the' text and 
interpretation of the Custumal ; to Mr. G. G. Coulton, of East- 
bourne, for similar help in the Anglo-French documents ; to the 
Council of the Selden Society for allowing the re-publishing of 
the translations of the Leet Extracts in the 5th Volume of the 
Society's Publications ; to Mr. W. N. Lawson, of Eastbourne, 
Recorder of Richmond, formerly of the Equity Bar, for most 
useful help in the compilation of the Subject-Index, and to 
others who have willingly assisted him in various ways during 
many years' study of these municipal documents. 


Page Ixiii. , line 7 from foot, delete " as " at end of line. 
Ixxxiii., line 28, for factions, read factious. 
I,., line 19, for Aldermen, read Alderman, 
cxii., note i, for 6 July, read 2 July. 
4, line 2, for "Abbas," read Abba. 
7, line 7) for Vise, read Viso. 
29, line I, for sine, read siue. 
45, line 9, for 2 July, read r April. 

47 (at end of Charter) for 2nd year, read 2nd and 3rd year. 
59, line 6, for County read Country. 
80, note I, for CLXXXIV., read CLXXXV. 
132, note I, for X. 2, read X. 4. 
134, line 19, for Divisee, read Devisee. 
214, note 3, for Hampshire, read Huntingdonshire. 
243, lines 14 and 33, for William, read Walter. 

,, note 2, for CCII., read CLII. 
253, line 10 from foot, for Dileburgh, read Dikleburgh. 
260-1, (date of No. CLIH.), for 1295, read 1285. 
261, line 4, for Beston, read Boston. 
267, note S, for CCLXXXIII., read CCLXXXV. 

288, line 20, for Doraincia, read Dominica. 

333, note 3, for maglre, read malgre. 

359, line 13 from foot, for Banburgh, read Bauburgh. 

,, line 10 from foot, for Antyngbam read Antyngham. 
387, note 1, for XII., p. 5, read XII. 5. 
400, note i, for Vinetenar, read Vintenar. 

^able of tbe Contents of IPoI. l. 


Introduction i 


I. Description of Norwich in Domesday Book i 

II. Extracts from the early Pipe Rolls 8 

The Charters. 

III. Charter of King Henry II. (c. 1158) 11 

IV. „ „ Richard I. (5 May, 1194) 12 

V. „ ,, John (22 Sep., 1199) 14 

VI. „ „ Henry III. (13 Feb., 1229) 15 

VII. „ „ „ (3 June, 1255) 15 

VIII. „ „ „ (25 March, 1256) 16 

IX. „ „ Edward I. (27 May, 1285) 18 

X. „ „ „ (8 July, 130S) 18 

XI. „ „ Edward II. (2 Feb., 1326) 21 

XII. „ „ „ (3 Feb., 1326) 22 

XIII. „ „ Edward III. (4 Oct., 1337) 23 

XIV. ., ,, „ (9 Aug., 1345) 23 

XV. „ „ Richard II. (26 Feb., 1378) 27 

XVI. „ „ „ (is Feb., 1380) 29 


XVII. ' 

Charter of 

King Henry IV. (6 Feb., 1400) 



(28 Jan., 1404) 



Henry V. (21 July, 1417) 



Henry VI. (17 July, 1430) 



(19 March, 1452) - 



Edward IV. (10 Feb., 1462) 



„ (12 Feb., 1462) 



(11 Nov., 1482) 



Henry VII. (26 March, 1504) 



Henry VIII (24 Oct., 1524) 



(i June, 1525) 


[- „ 


(6 April, 1539) 



Edward VI. (3 Nov., 1549) 



:er of Phil 

ip and Mary (i April, 1556) 




g Charles II. (26 June, 1663) 



„ (22 March, 1683) 






Miscellaneous Municipal Documents. 

XXXIII. Concerning the Foundation of the Cathedral Church of 

Norwich and other matters 52 

XXXIV. Opposition of the Country People to the enclosure of 

the City in 1253 59 

XXXV. Letter of Pope Gregory against the Citizens after the 

Riot of 1272 60 

XXXVI. Complaint of the " Middle People " of the City 61 

XXXVII. Plea between the Town of Great Yarmouth and the 

Community of Norwich 62 

XXXVIII. Petition of the "Citizens" in 1378 64 

XXXIX. Complaints of the Major Part of the Community against 

the "Twenty-Four Citizens" (1414) 66 

XL. Answer of the Sheriffs and Twenty-Four 77 

XLI. The Composition of 1415 - 93 

XLII. Tripartite Indenture between the Mayor, Sheriffs and 

Aldermen (1424) 109 



XLIII. Petition to the Bishop and the Earl of Suffolk to intercede 

with the King for the restitution of the City Liberties 

(1444) 114 

XLIV. Submission of the Citizens to the Bishop and the Earl 116 

XLV. Petition to the Marquis of Suffolk to plead with the King 

(1446-7) 117 

XLVI. Unexecuted Draft of Restitution (1447) 119 

XLVII. Oaths of Officials in the Fifteenth Century 122 

XLVIII. Names of the Subleets and Small Wards - - 130 

XLIX. The Custumalm 51 Chapters 132 

Documents ilhistrative of the Custumal and the City Courts. 

L., LI. Extracts from the Eyre held at Norwich 34 Henry IIL (1250) 199 

LII. to LXVin. Presentments made by the Coroners at the Eyre of 

S3 Henry HL (1268) 203 
LXIX. to LXXXVI. Presentments made at the Eyre of 14 Edward L 

(1286) 214 

LXXXVn. The Case of Walter Eghe, illegally hung by the Citizens 

in 1285 220 

LXXXVHL Inquest on persons drowned at Cantley in 1343 222 

LXXXIX. to CLI. Enrolments of Deeds in the City Court from 1285 

to 1298 224 

CLII. Agreement to keep Eye Bridge in repair in 1283 259 

CLIII. Appointment of an Alderman of the Hanse in 1285 260 

Proceedings of the City Assembly. 

CLIV. to CLVII. Election of Officers, 1344 to 1347 261 

CLVIII. to CLXXIX. Extracts from Assembly Rolls (1365 to 1369) 263 

CLXXX. to CXCL „ ,. „ (1372 to 1386) 269 

CXCIL to CXCV. „ „ „ (1413. 1414) 273 

CXCVL to CCVIIL „ „ „ (1420— 1426) 276 

CCIX. to CCXVI. „ 1st Assembly Book (1437— 1440) 281 

CCXVIL to CCXXIX. „ „ (1453 — 1488) 284 

CCXXX, to CCXXXIII. „ 2nd „ (1492—1496) 287 


Ck'il and Criminal Jurisdiction. 


CCXXXIV. to CCXLII. Civil Pleas before the Bailiffs of the City 

(1329—1379) 289 

CCXLIII. to CCXLV. Civil Pleas before the Mayor and Sheriffs 

after 1404 295 

CCXLVI. to CCXLIX. Sessions of the Peace and of Enquiry 

(1425— 1441) 297 

CCL. to CCLIV. Five Commissions of Delivery of the City Gaol 

issued to external Justices (1423 — 1455) 299 

CCLV. to CCLXXV. Gaol Deliveries and Sessions of the Peace held 

by the City Justices from the close of the 15th century - - 305 

CCLXXVI. to CCLXXXI. Police and Corrective Jurisdiction after 

1404; the Court of the Mayor and Aldermen 315 

CCLXXXII., CCLXXXIII. The Court of Aldermen and the Court 

of Sessions of the Peace . 318 

Litigation in the i^th Century. 

CCLXXXIV,, CCLXXXV. Question whether Carrow was in the 

City of Norwich or the County of Norfolk, 1416 Z'^'i-' 

CCLXXXVL, CCLXXXVII. Inquisition by Edmund Oldhalle, 
King's Escheator, concerning alleged Encroachments on the 
King's Geldable, held at Cringleford, 7 Oct., 1417 320 

CCLXXXVIII. to CCXCI. Commission of Enquiry concerning such 
Encroachments (on complaint of the Prior of Norwich, the 
Abbot of Wendling and others) held before Fray, Paston 
and Tudenham at Thetford, 19 July, 1441 324 

CCXCII. to CCXCVII. Enquiry concerning the disturbances called 
" Wetherby's Contention," held at Norwich by Sergeant 
Goddard, 2 Jan., 1437 328 

CCXCVIII. The Earl of Suffolk's Award on the above - 336 

CCXCIX. Proceedings of the Privy Council thereon- 337 

CCC. to CCCV. Petition of the Citizens to be relieved from payment 
of their Fee Farm Rent during the forfeiture of their 
Liberties after the Riot called " Gladman's Insurrection," 
1443— 1447 338 

CCCVL, CCCVII. Presentments about this time against Sir Thomas 

Tudenham, John Heydon and others 343 



CCCVIII. Two Letters of the Duke of Norfolk in favour of Wetherby 347 

CCCIX., CCCX. An Account in English of the above Controversies 
and of the Complaint of the Abbot of St. Benet concerning 

the New Milts, 1433— 1482 348 

CCCXI. Certificate of the imprisonment of the Mayor of Norwich in 
the Fleet Prison in 1443, made by the Lieutenant of the 

prison in 1482 354 

CCCXn. Grant of Restitution of Liberties in 1447 355 

Leet {or early Police) Jurisdiction. 

CCCXIIL Leet Roll of 1288- 357 

CCCXIV. „ 1289- 364 

CCCXV. „ I2QO- 368 

CCCXVL „ 1291- 369 

cccxvn. „ 1293- 370 

CCCXVIIL „ c. 1307 - 371 

CCCXIX. Tithing Roll of the Leet of Mancroft, c. 1311 371 

CCCXX. Leet Roll of 137 5 - S^i 

CCCXXL „ 1391 383 
CCCXXIL, CCCXXIIL Leets and Tourns held before the Sheriffs 

after 1404 3^6 

CCCXXIV. Presentments at the Quest of Wards, 1694, 1695 390 

Militia and Musters. 

CCCXXV. to CCCXXXL Views of Arms and Arrays in the 14th 

century 39° 

CCCXXXn. to CCCXXXVL Musters in the 15th century 404 

CCCXXXVIL to CCCXLIIL „ „ i6th „ 413 

Index of Special Words 420 

„ Subjects 42 2 

Places 433 

Names 43^ 

Xist of JUustrations. 

View of Norwich in 1577 .... Frontispiece. 

Map of the Four Lkets of Norwich in 1288 - facing p. xxvi. 

Charter of King Richard I. (5 May, 1194) - - ,, 3i 

Map of the County of the City of Norwich - - ,, 46 

Map of the Four Wards of Norwich with their Subdivisions „ 130 

Map of the River Jurisdiction of the Citizens - - „ 142 

Method of Enrolment - ,, 224 

The Two Parts of an Indenture ,, 247 

Portion of an Assembly Roll - ,, 268 

Left Roll of 1289 - - ,, 3^7 

Tithing Roll of Leet of Mancroft, 1311 >> 37* 




I. A Burgh under Seignorial Government, c. 925 to 1 194 i. 

II. Communal Self-Government under a Reeve, 1194 to 1223 xviii. 

III. Communal Government under Four Bailiffs, 1223 to 1404 xxv. 

IV. The Evolution of a Select Body of Citizens during the 14th Century xxxviii. 
V. The City made into a County : a permanent Magistracy with a Repre- 
sentative Common Council, 1404 to 1426 Iviii. 

VI. Troubled Times and Opposition, 1426 to 1447 Ixxix. 

VII. Permanent Settlement of the Constitution, 1447 to 1482 xciii. 

VIII. Subsequent History, 1482 to 1835 cix. 

IX. Special Introduction to the Charters cxvii. 

X. Special Introduction to the Custumal cxix. 

XI. Special Introduction to the City Courts - cxxiii. 

XII. Special Introduction to the Leet Courts - cxxxiv. 

XIII. Special Introduction to the MiUtia and Musters cxli. 

[Throughout the Volume all dates referring to days between January 1st and 
March 24th are given according to New Style.] 

I._A Burgh under Seignorial Government, c. 925—1194. 

I. Probable Origin. 

The earliest actual mention of Norwich occurs on coins 
minted there in the reign of King ^thelstan [A.D. 925— 941].! a 
little later in the reigns of ^thehed II. [978—1016], of Cnut 
[1016—1035], and of Edward the Confessor [1042— 1066], the 
Norwich mint issued a great variety of coins containing the names 

1 Henfrey, ancient coins of Norwich, Journal of the Archaological Association, 
vol. 36, p. 291. Andrews, Numismatic Chronicle, 4th Series I. Round, English 

Hist. Rev. Ap., 1903, p. 305- 


ii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

of numerous moneyers. The existence of this busy mint, even 
though it may have been first established under ^thelstan, indicates 
that so far back as that date Norwich had already become an 
important burgh. Under the laws of that King every burgh was 
to have a moneyer. We may therefore clearly trace back the 
municipal history of Norwich to a period immediately succeeding, 
if not contemporaneous with, its occupation by the Danes, at the 
close of the 9'^ century. The probable origin and growth of the 
burgh in still earlier times, as well as the topographical and other 
conditions which may have governed its development, will be more 
fitly dealt with in the account of its Social and Commercial Progress. 
It is necessary, however, to allude briefly to a recently propounded 
theory which, if substantiated, reverses all previous conclusions on 
this subject. 

It has hitherto been held that the primary nucleus of the future 
burgh was the Castle. Setting aside the wild theories of earlier 
writers it has been held that the great mound on which the Castle 
stands (now proved to be entirely artificial)^ was thrown up by 
some Angle chieftain. Uffa, King of the East Angles, c. 580, was 
the traditional performer of the work, though this date is earlier 
than the period mostly assigned to such fortifications by Clark^ and 
those who have followed him. Under the protection, as was 
supposed, of this stronghold there arose on the riverside meadows 
three distinct settlements, Conesford (Cyningesford) on the east and 
south-east ; Coselanye on the north-west and north, and Westwyk 
on the west and north-west. The existence of these three early 
settlements is evidenced by local names of streets and dedications 
of churches, and the names of the first two indicate a pre-Danish 
origin. This theory fitted in well with ascertained facts of a later 
time and with the description of the burgh in Domesday Book. 
Recently, however, grave doubts have been expressed in regard to 
the origin of these artificial fortified mounds which abound through- 
out the country. It is now asserted'* on strong grounds that they 
were the work neither of Angles or Danes, but of Normans, at the 
time of, or after, the Conquest. If this later theory be correct then 
whatever means of defence may have existed in Norwich in the 

' By excavations purposely made when the keep was converted into a museum in 
1888. See a letter by Mr. F. W. Harmer, F.G.S., in Norf. Arch., xiv. 151. 

2 Mediaval Military Architecture. 

» Round, Archceologia, vol. 58, p. 313. Armitage, Proc. Scottish Soc. Aniif. 
xxxiv. 260. En^. Hist. Rev. xix., p. 209. 

Selected Records of the City oj Norwich. iii. 

reign of Edward the Confessor, there was no great mound sur- 
mounted by even a stockaded fort. This, as it will be seen, must 
materially affect our view of what the Normans found and what they 

The first mention of Norwich in any record is the notice in the 
Saxon Chronicle that in 1002 " Swegen came with his fleet to 
Northwic and wasted and burned the burh." The damage done was 
not difficult to repair and when we come to the days of Edward the 
Confessor [c. 1060] the burgh, as described in Domesday Book, had 
become one of the very largest in the whole kingdom. 

2. Description of Norwich in Domesday Book {T.R.E.)} 

(«) Norwich was part of the " Terra Regis " ; it was reckoned 
as a Hundred and it contained in all 1320 burgesses. 

(b) These 1320 burgesses were divided into three lordships under 
slightly different conditions ; (i) the king and the earl had soc, sac 
and custom over 1238 ; (2) Stigand had soc, sac and commendation 
over 50 ; (3) Herold had similar jurisdiction over 32. 

(<:) As regards certain dues payable to the King and the earl the 
three lordships acted with some amount of unity. The whole town 
(tota hec villa) was charged with the payment of ;£"20 to the king 
and ;^io to the earl besides some other payments in money and 
kind to the king. 

(d) We may gather further that these three lordships were 
territorial, for the holdings of Stigand and Herold, in a later part 
of the document, are described as " that land which Stigand held 
in the time of King Edward," and " that land of which Herold had 
the soc." 

3. We may first deal with the two smaller jurisdictions. 
Stigand had previously held the East Anglian See of Elmham, but 
was now Archbishop of Canterbury. Although, however, he had 
ceased to be connected with Norwich as its Bishop he was still 
personally connected with it as possessing the important manor 
of Thorpe which lay towards the east and north-east across the 
river Wensum and also comprised a considerable amount of land 
on the near side of the river, which was afterwards within the 
city boundaries. The whole site of the future Cathedral with its 
precinct, as well as the site of the Great Hospital and its meadows 
belonged to this manor and the Hundred of Blofield.^ It was, 

1 No. I. ^ So it was asserted by the monks. See p. 57. 

iv. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

doubtless, as lord of the manor of Thorpe that Stigand held his 
50 burgesses in Norwich. And as he is stated to have held the 
two churches^ of St. Martin and St. Michael, his burgesses most 
likely occupied the district at the north end of Tombland and the 
adjoining part of the parish of St. Martin-at-Palace. This district 
was soon afterwards much altered by the enclosure of the Cathedral 

Herold must be the same as King Harold. He had been Earl of 
East Anglia and though he was not Earl at the time of Edward's 
death,^ he seems by this notice to have retained a (perhaps private) 
estate in Norwich. If, as hitherto thought, the Castle was there, it 
would be reasonable to suppose that Harold held it and that his 
burgesses were settled in its neighbourhood. But if there was 
not even a Castle Mound, it is impossible to locate them with 
any degree of certainty. The site of the Castle would be part of 
the slope of the hill from the Berstrete ridge to Tombland and 
we cannot conjecture how any of it may have been occupied. 

A far greater interest attaclies to the 1238 burgesses who were 
under the immediate jurisdiction of the King and the Earl. It is 
with them that the municipal history of the city begins, and 
although our document gives us little clue to their status and 
privileges certain known facts, or legitimate deductions from later 
known facts, may help us to some extent to supplement its 
information. It has been noted that there is evidence that they 
were divided into three locally distinct settlements. For municipal 
purposes these three settlements must already for several generations 
have coalesced into one burgh. Yet they remained three separate 
units in the permanent organisation of later times. 

4. Besides being called a " burh " as in the Saxon Chronicle 
in 1002, Norwich would rightly have been called a " port," a word 
which is understood" to mean a recognised market town. Perhaps 
this meaning may be detected in the termination of its name, 
" wic," explained in a contemporary vocabulary'' to mean a " castle 
or little port." This interpretation raises a considerable difficulty 
which will meet us again. Norwich was not a walled town, nor 

1 The church of St. Martin-at-Palace and the then existing church of St. Michael-on- 

2 Freeman {Hist. Norm, Conq., ii. 568, iv. 67), says that Gyrth, Harold's brother, 
was Earl at the death of Edward. 

* Wright-Wiilcher Vocab. of Archbishop Alfric (loth century) "wic — castellum vel 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. v. 

perhaps was it even defended by a bank and ditch till the middle 
of the 13th century. So long as a castle was believed to exist 
there in Angle and Danish times the difficulty was less, for the 
Castle enclosure would be a place of refuge for the townspeople in 
case of need. We may also suppose that the large population of 
Domesday Book was the growth of the ii"i rather than the 10* 
century, and that the town was really only a "little port" when 
the name " Norwic " first occurs, a name which had perhaps been 
newly brought into use in the time of .^thelstan. Still a population 
of 1320 burgesses in 1060 must have taken several generations to 
grow and the common market must have been extensive and 
important long before that date. The word " port " is never used 
of Norwich, nor were its burgesses called " portmen '' or its assembly 
a " portmanmote." But when the Normans established a new burgh 
of their own the native English called the district " Newport." 

A name also survived till later times, which indicates where the 
common " Moot" of the burgesses was held. It was on the plain or 
open space afterwards known as " Tomlond." ^ A church in that 
neighbourhood was still called in medieval records " St. Michael de 
Motstowe." ^ That this spot was the centre of pre-Norman Norwich 
is evident from its being the converging-place of all the main streets 
of the pre-Norman districts. Besides being the " motstowe " or place 
of meeting, it must also have been the place of the market. The 
Church of St. Michael, which then stood there, was very richly 
endowed, and without much doubt the principal church in the burgh. 
If there was then an Earl's Palace, it also stood there, but it cannot 
be proved that the building so called was then existing. These 
matters must be left for future discussion. 

What is certain is that the Norman Conquerors found in the 
burgh of Norwich an organised community of 1238 burgesses 
(besides others who were not burgesses) united under the joint 
jurisdiction of the King and the Earl of East Anglia. That for 
practical working out of such matters as watch and ward, collection 
of dues or other necessary details of the administration of a free 
burgh, they were grouped in three sub-divisions seems also certain 
for topographical reasons. That, besides commerce and trade, they 

1 Danish for vacant land. 

2 Now St. Michael-at-Plea, not St. Michael-on-Torabland, removed by Bishop 
Herbert. Possibly the former may have been built on the removal of the latter. See 
Streets and Lanes of Norwich, p. 105 

vi. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

were also occupied in agriculture is most probable. But, so far as 
municipal organisation is concerned, we have scarcely any evidence 
to guide us. 

5- The Norman Conquest. 

Within a year of the Conquest we have mention of 
Norwich in a passage of the Chronicle of William of Poictiers,i 
the Conqueror's chaplain, repeated almost verbally by Ordericus 
Vitalis.^ When King William left the country to go to Normandy 
in 1067 he committed the charge of England to two of his 
leading officers. To his brother Odo he entrusted " Dover Castle, 
with the adjacent southern shore called Kent, which faces Gaul." 
In a place called by the Chronicler " Guenta," which, he says, 
can easily receive the Danes, for it is only fourteen miles from 
the sea which separates the English from the Danes, he "con- 
structed a fort (munitio) within the walls (mcenia)." Here he 
placed " William Fitz Osbern, a chief captain in his army, that in 
his stead he might meanwhile rule over the whole kingdom 
towards the north." The " Guenta " of this description cannot 
be anything but Norwich,' which William of Poictiers identified 
with the Roman " Venta Icenorum." 

Hitherto it has been taken for granted that what the King 
did was to replace the existing timber fort on the mound with a 
more defensible stone fortification, not, indeed, the present Keep, but 
something which preceded it. If, however, the new theory of the 
Norman origin of the mound is to be accepted, what he did was to 
throw up the mound itself, a gigantic work to be hurriedly done, 
but one for which sufficient labour existed on the spot if he 

1 Guenta urbs est nobilis atque valens. Gives ac finitimos habet divites, infidos, et 
audaces. Danos in auxilium citius recipere potest. Amari quod Anglos a Danis separat, 
millia passuum quatuordecim distat. Hujus quoque urbis intra mcenia munitionem 
construxit. Ibidem Willelmum reliquit Osberni filium, preecipuum in exercitu sue, 
ut in vice sua interim toti regno Aquilonem versus praaesset. Hunc ex omnibus 
Normannis paterno more sibi fidissimum domi bellique perspexerat simul fortitudine 
egregium et consilio sive rei domesticte sive militaris ; necnon domino celesti multo 
affectu devotum. Hunc Normannis charissimum Anglis maximo terror! esse sciebat. 
Hunc pre ceteris familiaribus a pueritia utriusque dilexerat et exultaverat in 

Castrum vero Doveram Odoni fratri suo commisit cum adjacente ora australi 
quae, nomine vetusto Cantium dicta, Galliam propius spectat, unde et a minus feris 
hominibus incolitur. Consueverant enim merces cum Belgis mutare." — William of 
Poictiers 148 {Duchesne Hist. Northmann. Script., p. 208). 

2 Ibid. p. 506. ' So Freeman understands it. (Norm. Conq. IV., 58). 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. vii. 

had the power to enforce it. This new theory, of course, sup- 
poses that only timber castles could at first be built on the 
hastily erected mounds, the stone keeps, as now existing, not 
replacing them for a generation or two later.i This mound and 
fort would be the " munitio " of the Chronicler. What he meant by 
his " moenia" is not plain. It is probable that, not being acquainted 
with the locality, he imagined that a place so important as Norwich 
was an old walled town. 

6. The New, or French, Burgh. 

The fortress, from which William Fitz Osbern was thus 
set to overawe the people towards the north,^ soon became not 
only a military menace to the old burgesses, but the nucleus 
of a rival municipal organisation. About five years after the 
Conquest, Ralph de Guader, the son of an English father and 
a Breton mother, who, having a grievance against Harold, had 
joined the Norman army, was rewarded with the Earldom of 
East Anglia, and with it the custody of the castle and burgh 
of Norwich. Probably also he may have thus come into the 
lordship of the burgesses who had been Harold's. He proceeded 
to do what other Norman nobles were also doing, namely, to 
establish a French burgh, which might attract his countrymen 
to share its privileges and become a sort of outer garrison to 
the castle. In the language of Domesday Book, he took the 
land which he held in demesne as Earl, and granted it to the 
King, as the record puts it, " in commune " to make a burgh 
between himself and the King. This was manifestly more than 
a new settlement added to the population. It was the deliberate 
establishment of a new organisation. It began on a small scale. 
Most writers, following Blomefield, have understood Domesday 
Book as stating that there were in the New Burgh 36 French 
and 6 English burgesses in the time of King Edward. It more 
probably means that they were there when the New Burgh was 
formed, and this may explain the words " in commune " of the 
record. Till then the holders of this land were simply individual 
members of the old burgh, or, perhaps, with more likelihood, 

1 This is in accordance with the acknowledged date of similarly situated keeps, 
which are not earlier than the reign of Stephen. 

2 The "north" must be taken to mean the northern coast. The main object was 
to watch the Danes. 

viii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

burgesses of the Earl. Now they were constituted into a " com- 
mune," a united whole, forming a separate wmi} and that not 
simply as Conesford, Westwyk and Coselanye, may have been 
in some sense separate units for convenience of administration. 
Those three together had formed but one " burgh," presumably 
under one burghreeve or portreeve and enjoying in common their 
own old English or Danish customs. This new organisation 
was to be a separate " burgh," whose burgesses, speaking another 
language and brought up under other customs, would have 
their own reeve. The mention of an annual rent of i penny 
which all alike paid, as well as " forfeits,'' suggests that they, like 
the burgesses in many other "French" burghs, were under the 
Laws of Breteuil,^ brought over by the Norman chiefs, especially 
William Fitz Osbern, who was most likely the first founder of 
the Norman castle. He may have originated the scheme of a 
new Burgh. Ralph, the Earl, was himself half a Breton, and the 
castle was garrisoned by Breton soldiers,^ when it was defended 
by Ralph's wife Emma, who was William Fitz Osbern's daughter 
and sister to Roger de Breteuil, Earl of Hereford, William's 
son. By 1086, when Domesday Book was compiled, there were 
41 French burgesses in the New Burgh in the demesne of the 
King and the Earl, besides 83 others, knights and burgesses, all 
liable to the same custom as the original French burgesses. 

7. This increase in some ten years is the more noticeable 
in the face of the misfortunes which had fallen on the town in 
the interval. The ill-fated rebellion, which was inaugurated at the 
bride-ale,* when Earl Ralph married Earl Roger's sister, Emma 
Fitz Osbern, brought untold mischief on the innocent burgesses. 
The town, being undefended, suffered great damage during the 
siege of the castle, as we learn from Domesday Book. Large 
numbers of the burgesses, either as actual or suspected adherents 
of Earl Ralph, were compelled to flee, and their possessions were 

' See note on "Commune" at the end of this sub-section, p. a. 

2 On these Laws and their extensive use in English burghs, see Miss Bateson's 
articles in English Historical Review, igoo and 1901. A main characteristic of these 
Laws was an equal rent and a maximum forfeit beyond which the lord might 
not go. 

3 Lanfranc writes to the Conqueror: — "Your Castle of Norwich is delivered 'a 
spurcitia Britonum.' " — Epistles of Lanfranc, 38. 

^ The marriage did not take place at Norwich, but at Exning, in Suffolk. After- 
wards, says the A. S. Chron., "he took his wife to Norwich." 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. ix. 

seized. This occurred in 1075. When the Survey was made 
in 1086, little recovery can have taken place. Of the King's 
1,238 burgesses only 665 were found, of Stigand's 50 only 39, 
and of Harold's 32 only 15. In addition to suffering damage 
by fire during the siege, and by the " invasions '' of a certain 
Waleran, these 719 remaining old burgesses would have to 
pay the forfeits on Earl Ralph's rebellion, and to meet the require- 
ments of the King's geld to the full extent of the former 1320. 
Moreover, their annual render to the King and others was raised 
from ;£'3i to more than ;^9S, a ruinous increase, even though 
the French burgesses took their share. Under these circumstances 
the old burgesses who remained are described as " omnino vastati." 
They were quite impoverished and unable to appeal to any 
protector against the successful rivalry of the burgesses in the 
New Burgh.i This rivalry resulted (in course of time) in the 
permanent transfer of the centre of burghal life from the old 
burgh to the new. Hitherto it had been on Tombland. Before 
the time of our earliest records in the thirteenth century, it was 
fully established in Mancroft, on the west side of the castle, by 
which name the "New-port" or New Burgh was finally called. 
It is impossible to say by what steps this development took place. 
It must have commenced when the new burgh was first estab- 
lished. For a few generations, perhaps, an English Burghmote 
may have continued to be held on Tombland and a French 
in Mancroft. So also may an English and a French market. 
But one thing we may safely assume. The King's Toll-house 
would certainly be set in the new burgh, and the old burgesses 
would have to resort to it to satisfy all the demands of the King 
or his officials. 

After this time we hear no more of any burgesses corres- 
ponding to those held by the Earl. They are, if their burgage 
rent was still accounted for, included in the burgesses of the 
new burgh. The 17 void " mansure " of that lordship at the 
time of Domesday Survey are said to be "in the occupation 
of the castle.'' So also are 81 in the burgh, that is, of the 
King's burgesses. Possibly some of these latter may have belonged 
to the " castle bailey " which was outside the earthworks on the 

1 If the 36 French burgesses of the original New Burgh were Bretons, they 

must have been replaced by others included in the 41 of the time of D. B. 

Roger Bigot, the new Constable of the Castle, introduced 50 more of his own, 
and others were added about the same time. 

X. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

south-east. Its inhabitants, though in early times closely con- 
nected with the castle, yet shared in the privileges and burdens 
of the other burgesses of the old burgh, whereas the inhabitants 
of the castle and the lands enclosed within the castle earthworks 
formed an exempt jurisdiction till 1345. 

[Note on "in commune" in Domesday Book, ante p. viii. 

This expression occurs also in the Domesday description of Colchester, 
and is one of acknowledged difficulty. The Colchester passage is " In 
commune burgensium iiii"" acre terre et circa murum viii. perce, de quo 
toto per annum habent burgenses Ix. sol. ad servicium regis si opus fuerit, 
sin autem in commune dividunt." This has been commented upon by Mr. 
Round^ and by Professor Maitland.^ The latter understands that the com- 
munity of burgesses held the land and received rents from the tenants, the 
total sum of which went to the King if necessary, if not, was "divisible 
among the burgesses." Mr. Round {Vic. Hist., p. 577) translates the 
first " in commune " as " In the burgesses common are 80 acres," etc. ; 
and the second as " they divide it in common." In a note he says 
"the phrase probably refers to common of pasture." In referring 
(p. 423) to the Norwich entry he writes " in commune '' and " inter se et 
regem" in itahcs, so that he would probably translate it, as Blomefield 
does, " to make a burgh in common between himself and the 

The difficulty of the expression in Colchester lies not only in the 
exceptional use of the word so early in the sense of the later " com- 
munitas," but in the fact that its first use seems to imply the unity of a 
body, while the second appears to describe dividing a thing into individual 
shares. In the latter sense the Norwich entry would imply no more than that 
the burgage rents of the tenants of the land should be divided between the 
King and the Earl. But the plain meaning is that the Earl took his own 
individual burgesses on his demesne, and gave them to the King to form 
a municipal organisation, standing by itself and bearing a relation to the 
King as national and to himself as local lord, corresponding to that of the 
burgesses of the existing Enghsh burgh. It is not necessary to press the 
phrase into too definite a meaning. The word "commune" (a Latin 
adjectival neuter) is itself vague. It is here referred to land with reference 
to the tenants settled on it. It contained so many separate burgage 
holdings under Earl Ralph. Henceforth it was for a certain purpose to 
be reckoned as one unit, the new French burgh. The same vague use of 

1 Antiquary VI., 97, and Victoria County Hist, of Essex /., 423 and 577. 

2 Domesday Book and Beyond, p. 201. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xi. 

the term occurs frequently in the Pipe Roll of 14 H. II. where the 
" commune ville " pays a lump sum to the Aid for marrying the King's 
daughter, while special individuals in the same vill pay specified sums.] 

8. Foundation of the Cathedral and Monastery. 

Before this time Stigand's 50 burgesses disappear as a 
separate body. In 1070 he was deprived of his Archbishopric and 
his manor of Thorpe fell into the hands of the king. His Norwich 
burgesses would thus fall into line with those of the king, unless 
they were transferred to a new lord in connection with another 
change which soon after this time exercised a permanent and, on 
the whole, unfavourable influence on the municipal development 
of the burgh. 

This was the removal of the Episcopal See of East Anglia 
from Thetford to Norwich in 1094. It is stated in Domesday Book 
that there were in the burgh of Norwich (T.R W.) " 50 houses from 
which the king has not his custom." Of these the " men of the 
bishop " held lO and " in the bishop's own court " were 14 " mansure " 
which William the King gave to Herfast " for the principal seat of 
the bishoprick." Herfast became bishop of Elmham in 1070, and 
is generally supposed to have removed the See from Elmham to 
Thetford in obedience to the order of the Council of London in 
1075,1 that bishops should remove their Sees from villages to the 
principal places in their diocese. If that were so we might conclude 
that he did not then remove it to Norwich because of the disturbance 
caused by Earl Ralph's rebellion. William's policy in urging this 
step was to bring the civil and ecclesiastical officers (both generally 
Normans) in the closest touch with each other. It may be that for 
a time Thetford was the seat of the civil governour and that the 
See was removed there for that reason. The king's grant of lands 
and houses in Norwich for the purpose may have been to assist 
the bishop in carrying out the order of the Council of London before 
the disturbances at Norwich caused Thetford to be preferred. What- 
ever may be the true cause of Thetford being chosen at that time, 
a further removal to Norwich was decided upon in 1094. Herbert 
de Losinga, then Bishop, purchased of the King, William Rufus, 
an extensive meadow east of Tombland called the Cowholm in the 
manor of Thorpe and the hundred of Blofield. Here he founded 

' Mason, Hist, of Nor f., i. 176, states that he had seen a deed signed by Herfast as 
Bishop of Thetford in 107 1, in possession of the D. and C. of Canterbury. 

xii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

a monastery and built a Cathedral. Next being desirous of 
improving the access to the town on the west of his site, he effected 
an exchange with Roger Bigot then Constable of Norwich Castle. 
He gave Roger some ancestral lands in Suffolk and obtained from 
him the church and land of St. Michael, comprising part of 
Tombland and the land on which stood a building called the 
Earl's Palace. He removed both the church of St. Michael and the 
Earl's Palace. Afterwards he obtained from Henry I. a grant of 
some land further to the north which the King describes as given 
" de burgo meo " ^ and which may have been the locality where 
Stigand's forfeited burgage tenements had stood. The greater part 
of all this land he enclosed in a stone wall. 

The immediate effect of these undertakings was to accentuate the 
derogation of the old burgh to the benefit of the new. It was a 
blow struck at their centre, removing not only many houses, but 
also their principal church and their lord's dwelling. The monastic 
enclosed precinct and the castle enclosure almost touched each 
other, so that Conesford, hitherto the most favourably situated of 
the three units of the old burgh was severed from the other two by 
an enclosed community of alien knights and another of alien 
monks. The further and more serious result was to introduce into 
their midst an exempt and specially privileged ecclesiastical body 
between whose rights and their own endless feuds sprang up to 
the great detriment of both, which were not quieted for 430 years. 

9. The Twelfth Century. 

The municipal progress of Norwich in the early part of 
this century is very obscure, illuminated only by a few isolated 
statements. We may presume that the unifying influence exercised 
by King Henry I., the "Lion of Justice," throughout the kingdom 
was felt in Norwich, and that the close of his reign left the town 
in a far more prosperous condition than it was in at the beginning. 
The King visited Norwich at the Christmas of 11 22, and according 
to Blomefield marked his visit by a grant of great importance, giving 

1 In Charter of Henry I. to the Prior [Dugdale Monast., iv. 17] it is stated: 

Henricus etc Sciatis me dedisse Deo et ecclesie de Norwylce et Herberto 

Episcopo et monachis eiusdem ecclesie .... Preter hoc dedi eis de burgo meo de 
Norwico partem a terra episcopi usque ad terram sancti Michaelis &c. This grant may 
have included the land forfeited by Stigand. An Inspeximus of this Charter is enrolled 
in Patent Roll 2 Richard II. part i, m. 7, which is about the date of the document De 
Fiindacione Ecclesie, etc., given in this volume, No. XXXIII. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xiii. 

the burgesses the same franchises as the city of London then had.^ 
From this time, he says, they were governed by a Portreeve who 
collected the King's duties and governed the city. Hitherto the 
government had been in the hands of the Constable of the castle 
who answered to the King for two thirds of the profits and l<ept 
one third himself Henceforth the third part remained to the 
castle as a royal liberty governed by the sheriff under the constable ; 
the two thirds passed into the hands of the citizens who exercised 
the King's jurisdictions and "returned their fee-farm or annual 
profits by the hands of their Provost who accounted for them to 
the King." Whether the King named the Provost he cannot 
decide, nor had he seen a copy of such a charter, but that it was 
true he thinks to be proved by the "charter of Henry H. which 
mentions it." 

This statement appears to be no more than the writer's opinion 
of the probable course of events. Most of it is very uncertain and 
some of it certainly incorrect. There is no evidence of any charter 
having been granted to the borough by Henry I. No reference 
to such a charter is ever made, the liberties of the borough being 
ascribed either to the charter of Henry H. or (most frequently) 
to that of Richard I. In a list of the city muniments in 1 290,^ it 
does not occur, whereas the others are specified. The charter of 
Henry II. only confirms in general terms such liberties as may have 
been enjoyed in the time of his grandfather and makes no mention 
of the city of London. Again, it is incorrect to say that as yet the 
provost could deal directly with the king as we shall see presently 
from the early Pipe rolls. It is also more than doubtful whether 
any part of the royal jurisdiction (whether regal or seignorial) was 
yet committed to the burgesses so as to be in any sense under 
their own control either in the election of a president of their court 
or the assessing of the amercements. It is impossible to suppose 
that in so short a time the customs of the French and English 
burghs had been so far amalgamated as to allow of any joint action 
in the matter of jurisdiction. It is far more probable that the 
contention of the monks at a later date was correct, and that at this 
time, and for at least a generation later, the borough court was 
presided over by a sergeant or bailiff of the King who judged the 
burgesses of each burgh according to their own customs. 

1 Dugdale Monast., iv. 70, (quoting from an old MS. in possession of J. Whiting, 
1650), " Henricus rex filius Willelmi Conquestoris dedit civibus Norwici eandam franchesiam 
et libertates sicut civitas Londonie habuit. ^ Rot. Cart. i8 E.I., No. CXVIII. 

xiv. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

It may, however, be true that at this time the burgesses obtained 
the privilege of the " firma burgi." We may consider this matter 
when we come to the language of the early Pipe rolls of 30 years 
later. If the change took place at this time it would hardly be 
quite as Blomefield puts it, transferring one third of the profits to the 
castle and two thirds to the citizens. The various sums mentioned 
in Domesday Book were apparently commuted at once for the 
payment, as afterwards permanently settled, of £10%. 

Under date of 11 38 and 1139, Blomefield^ speaks of a payment 
by the burgesses of £2^^ for "pardon" which he assumes to be 
connected with a re-grant of forfeited liberties. But in regard to 
the date of this payment which is entered in the earliest existing 
Pipe Roll he was led astray by the opinion held in his day that 
the roll belonged to $ Stephen instead of 31 H. I. And he has 
misinterpreted the entry. It is that*" "the Sheriff renders account 
of the aid of Norwich. In the treasury £2."^. And in Pardon by 
Writ of the King to the Burgesses of Norwich iooj." The payment 
to be accounted for was, it seems, .^30. Of this sum ;£"25 had been 
duly paid, and the burgesses produced a royal writ excusing them 
(for some reason) from the payment of the remaining £'^. Nothing 
is said about forfeiture or re-grant of liberties. 

10. Norwich and King Stephen. 

The reign of King Stephen is of some interest in the 
municipal history of the city. Baker in his Chronicle^ states that 
"In 1 140 the King gave licence to the city of Norwich to have 
coroners and bailiffs before which time they had only a sergeant 
for the King to keep courts." This looks like an incorrect 
reference to the tradition just referred to as recorded by the 
monks of the Cathedral Monastery towards the close of the four- 
teenth century.* In stating their case against the citizens they 
say : " Afterwards, in the seventeenth year of the reign of Stephen, 
which was the year 11 52, the community of the town of Norwich 
made a fine and agreed, as it says, with the aforesaid King 
Stephen for having coroners and bailiffs of themselves, but of 
this they have no charter, nor in time of need did they produce 
one, because never before the conquest or after for 100 years 
and more did they have coroners and bailiffs of themselves, but 
only one bailiff who in the King's name held courts and collected 

1 Hist. Norf. iii. 25. a No. II. I. « Edn. 1653, fol. 72, 

^ No. XXXIII. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xv. 

amercements, as was the case in Beccles or in Bungay or in 
other towns where merchandise is sold." They go on to say 
that in the fifth year of Richard I. (1194) the citizens first 
received their city to farm. The last part of the contention of 
the monks perhaps requires some modification, but the former part 
probably expresses- the truth. 

During a portion of the reign of Stephen the Castle and 
town of Norwich were in the hands of Stephen's son, William 
of Blois.^ The grant was made to William as Earl of Warenne, 
a title which he only obtained on his marriage with Isabel, 
heiress of the third Earl of Warenne, who died in 1148. It 
therefore must be subsequent to that date. William de Blois was 
in possession of the Borough before 1153, for it was then con- 
firmed to him in the Agreement between Stephen and Henry 
Fitz Empress.'' It is possible that the tradition about the Coroners 
and Bailiffs in 1152 had a foundation of truth in an endeavour 
to induce King Stephen, through his son William, to grant to 
the burgesses similar liberties to those already granted to the City 
of London. 

II. The First Charter. 

With the reign of Henry II. we enter upon the period 
of our first Charter. It is not dated, and it is of considerable 
importance to establish its date as nearly as possible. Blome- 
field sets it down to 11 82, but in this he is clearly altogether 
wrong, for of the attesting witnesses William, the King's brother, 
died in 1164; Henry de Essex, Constable, was deposed from 
his office in 1163 ; and Warin Fitz-Gerold, Chamberlain, seems 
to have held that office from 1154 to 1158.' It must, therefore, 
be in 1158 or earlier. All the witnesses either were, or might 
well have been, present at Westminster in December, 1154, or 
March, 1155.* But the Charter is not likely to have been granted 

^ Rymer Fcedera /., l8 ; Coke i^h Inst. 258. 

2 The grant includes "the Castle of Norwich, with 700 librates of land, so that the 
renders (redditus) of Norwich be reckoned within those 700 librates.'' Gurdon, Essay 
on the Antiquity of Norwich Castle, p. 28, followed by Blomefield III., 25, says, "The 
Rents of the City of Norwich were then valued at ;^7oo per annum. " But it is only 
stated that the renders of Norwich, probably those for which the farm of ;^lo8 was 
given in 3 H. II., were to be included in the .^700. The question belongs rather to 
the economic history of the city. 

' Eyton Itinerary of Henry II., Index under these names. 

* Eyton 2, 6-9. 

XV i. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

by the King until he had resumed possession of the borough 
and castle from William Fitz Stephen at Whitsuntide, 1157.^ 
Henry remained in England from that time till August, 1158. 
As the names of all the five witnesses occur in attendance on 
the King during the period from April to August, 1158,''' we shall 
probably be correct in assigning that period as the date of the 
Charter. In the Pipe Roll for that year the Sherifif accounts 
for a payment of 300 marks " from the Burgesses of Norwich," 
possibly in return for the Charter. 

The Charter" contains no specific grant of any new franchise 
but only a general confirmation to the burgesses of their " customs, 
liberties and quittances " as they had enjoyed them in the time of 
the King's grandfather, Henry I. It enjoins that the burgesses 
should fully hold these liberties, as well customs as " responsa." 
And if any one in the time of King Stephen had withdrawn himself 
from their "customs" and "scots" he is ordered to return to their 
" society and custom " and follow their " scot,'' none being excepted. 
These terms are plainly too vague to be made the foundation 
of any definite theory of the municipal condition of Norwich in 
the time of Henry I. They refer to the two sides of municipal 
liberty, the enjoyment of their local "customs" and the right to 
satisfy the King in such method as had heretofore been allowed 
to them. In regard to the latter point the question arises, Had 
they yet obtained the right to compound for at least some of their 
obligations by a "firma" or fixed sum.' We have seen that in 
31 Henry I. they had to account to the King for ;^30. But this 
was for an aid (auxilium) an occasional demand, not a "firma" 
or regular payment. The next surviving Pipe Roll, for 2 H. U., 
mentions a sum of 50 marks (;£^33 6s. 8d.) paid through the King 
to William Comin and John the Marshall, again for an " aid." 
In the following year, however, 3 H. II, we find this entry ;^ "The 
said Sherifif renders account of ;^54 for the farm of half a year 
from Norwich." In the Red Book of the Exchequer" the same 
entry is given for the same year, and also in another place" in 
this form, " Et in Norwico per se' cviij li." Now this is the exact 
amount of the annual farm as specified in the Charter of 5 Richard I., 
and it would therefore seem that a commutation of the Domesday 
renders at that amount had already been arrived at, although 

1 Norgate, England U-nder the Angevin Kings /., 430. Eyton Itin., 25, thinks about 
Easter. ^ Eyton 38. « No. III. " No. II. 2. = p. 682. 

^ p. 787. ' Perhaps as not included in the farm of the County. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xvii. 

probably it was not yet a permanent settlement, for no other 
reference to a farm is made till the date of Richard's Charter. This 
perhaps gave ground for the contention made by the citizens 
of Norwich in their plea against Yarmouth in 1331.' Norwich, they 
pleaded, had been an ancient port of the Kings of England before 
Yarmouth existed and there tolls and customs for sea-borne goods 
were paid, " all which were due to the Kings of England in right 
of that their city and port till King Henry Fitz Empress granted 
the city and all the tolls, rights and customs belonging to it to the 
citizens and their heirs for ever paying to the Exchequer a fee 
farm rent of .£^108 a year &c." 

The existing Charter of Henry H. does not, however, warrant this 
assertion. On the other hand the 15th century lawyers in Norwich 
always founded the claim to self government on the Charter of 
Richard I., not on that of Henry H., stating, for instance, in 1443^ 
that by Richard's Charter the citizens became possessed of their 
franchises and the King of his fee farm rent " then first and not 

It would seem, too, that if we are right as to the date of the 
Charter the payment of .£^54 was anterior to the Charter. We may, 
perhaps, suppose that in 1331 there existed among the Norwich 
archives some record of the payment of this farm at this early 
date and that it was explained by the assumption made in the 
plea. But if indeed this early farm implied the possession by 
the then burgesses of their tolls and port dues, municipal self- 
government must have proceeded further than Richard's subsequent 
Charter would lead us to expect. 

It will be observed that the farm (whatever it represented) was 
not paid direct to the King but through the Sheriff of the County. 

Another observation may be made. The language of the 
Charter seems inconsistent with the existence of two rival " burghs " 
with distinct customs. It is true that there are indications that even 
later than this there may still have been two Reeves.* But the order 

1 Book of Pleas, fol. xxi.. No. XXXVII. ^ nc cCC. 

^ There may have been two Reeves annually chosen till the substitution of Bailiffs. 
The " Old Roll of Officials" preserved in the Guildhall (though neither early or reliable 
yet copying some previous tradition) gives from 1 154 to 1222 "2 Prepositi." The Close 
Roll of 7 John (1205) orders the Sheriff to arrest " Prepositos Norwici." The list in the 
Old Free Book of early officials named in deeds of uncertain years gives four " Prepositos 
Norwici " and couples them in two pairs. If it were so the practice may have been a 
reminiscence of the two burghs without necessarily implying two divergent sets of customs 
any more than in the case of Ipswich which had two Reeves. 

xviii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

that all persons should join their " societas et consuetudo'' must 
mean that there was but one municipal organisation and one set of 
customs, The Norman^ and English burghs had already amal- 
gamated so far as to act together as one " societas " with one 
" consuetudo." 

II. Communal Self-Government under a Reeve, 1194 — 1223. 

I. Charter of Richard I. 

Whatever may have been the privileges enjoyed by the 
burgesses of Norwich before the Charter of King Richard I., there 
can be no doubt that to it they owed their first grant of municipal 
independence. For a century and a half they had formed one of 
the largest and most prosperous communities in the kingdom ; for 
nearly a century their town had been the established seat of the 
bishop of one of its most extensive dioceses, yet hitherto it had 
passed as an ordinary " burgus." Henceforth the men of Norwich 
are styled " cives " and their town a " civitas." That this change 
in official language was to be attributed to the effect of King 
Richard's charter was the decided opinion of the 15* century 
lawyers. In an indictment of the citizens for encroachments on 
the King's geldable at an Inquest held at Cringleford in October, 
141 7, the advocate for the Crown thus pleads,^ " The lord Henry 
late King of England first after the Conquest [granted certain 
privileges to the Prior] long before the time of the reign of the 
aforesaid late King Richard when that which is now called the 
City of Norwich was and in record was called the Burgh of 
Norwich and was entirely in the hands^ and possession of the 
said late King, &c." 

In one respect this statement is not strictly accurate. Though 
" burgenses" is used in the Charter of H. II. and in the Pipe Rolls 
throughout the greater part of his reign, the word " cives " is used 
in the Pipe Rolls on several occasions previous to this Charter.^ 
Possibly the legislation of Henry's reign in the development of 

^ The purely Norman element seems to have died out early in Norwich. A French 
lad coming from Paris to England rather later than this date is told: "In Durham, 
Norwich and Lincoln you will hear scarcely any speaking Romance (Romane loquentem) " 
Richard of Devizes {Hist. Soc, p. 62). 2 Nq. CCLXXXVI., Indictment 7. 

3 This cannot refer to a mere temporary forfeiture. 

' 29 H. II., 31 II. II., 2 R. I. (No. II., 9, 10). 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xix. 

local administration coupled with the large amount of the con- 
tributions received from Norwich had emphasized its importance 
in the view of the King's officials and led to its being honoured 
with the higher title of " civitas " which was now adopted and 
sanctioned by its use in a royal charter. Thus in the Pipe Roll 
of 5 H. II. the Sheriff accounts for ^414 13J. 4^. " de dono 
Civitatis," though the word " burgenses " continues to be used in 
later years. Whether, however, the later lawyers were correct or 
not in connecting the change of title with an increase of privilege, 
it is certain that, with scarcely an exception, the citizens of Norwich 
as well as their adversaries referred the origin of their liberties as 
sanctioned by royal authority to the charter of Richard I. 

The Charter^ was granted on 5 May in Richard's fifth year 
(1194). Its specific terms, as relating to quittance from penalties, 
exemption from tolls, rights of pleading and of tenure of property, 
are almost exactly similar to several granted by Richard to other 
cities. One of them had been granted to London only 12 days 
before, 23 April, 1194. It is observable that the original charter 
from which the similar clauses of all these charters were taken was 
one granted to London by King Henry I.,^ and repeated by King 
Henry II. in the early years of his reign. As it is well understood 
that the specification of a particular liberty granted in a charter 
does not preclude the possibility of its having been enjoyed by 
custom long before, it is likely enough that many of the privileges 
enjoyed by London in the time of Henry I. and re-granted by 
Henry II. and Richard may have been equally enjoyed during 
that period as a matter of custom by Norwich, Lincoln, Winchester 
and other towns in the case of which they are first specified in the 
charters of Richard. The terms of the charter of Henry II. already 
referred to seem to imply something of the kind as true of Norwich. 

2. Grant of the City to the Citizens. 

The real value of the charter to the citizens must be sought 
in its concluding clauses. After the specified articles of the grant 
a further general grant is made including all the " liberties and free 
customs" formerly or at the time held by the citizens of London. 
Then the charter thus concludes, " Wherefore we will and firmly 
enjoin that the said citizens and their heirs have and hold 

1 No. IV. 

2 Assigned by some to IIOI, but Round Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 364, dates it 
between 1130 and 1135. 

XX. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

hereditarily of us and our heirs all these [grants] aforesaid with 
the city and its appurtenances, rendering yearly ;^io8 sterling by 
tale from the city of Norwich by the hands of the Reeve of Norwich 
at our Exchequer at the term of S'- Michael, and the citizens 
of Norwich may make Reeves of themselves yearly who may be 
agreeable to us and them." That this was the important point of 
the charter and that the other liberties specified were not new is 
confirmed by an entry in the Pipe Roll of 6 Richard I. [Michaelmas, 
1 194], "The citizens of Norwich render account of 200 marks for 
having confirmation of the liberties of their city by charter of the 
lord King Richard and for having the city in their hand, so that 
they answer for the due farm at the Exchequer." ^ 

What, then, are we to understand by their " having the city 
in their hands".? It must be held first of all to imply the taking 
for themselves the burgage rents, tolls and profits of the borough 
court. The only difficulty is that we have seen that so far back 
as 3 Hen. II. the burgesses have been allowed to farm something 
at this very sum of .£'108. We can hardly suppose that, if anything 
fresh (say, profits of court) was now first added, the amount of the 
farm would not have been increased. It would seem, therefore, 
that the change introduced by the charter was the substitution 
of a permanent for an occasional farm. For the future they held 
the city at a fee-farm (or perpetual rent) the due payment of which 
was the condition of their tenure. 

A further gain was that they might answer directly at the 
Exchequer for their obligation instead of through the Sheriff of 
the County. 

3. Right to elect their own Reeve. 

Perhaps, however, the most important article of the Charter was 
that which allowed them to elect their own Reeve annually subject 
only to the King's approval. By this grant the president of their 
borough-court and of their municipal assemblies would be no longer 
the nominee of the King or of some intermediate official, but one 
of their own choosing, responsible to themselves — a great step in 
self-government. For while the responsibility of such an official to 
the King would compel him to avoid infringing the King's rights, he 
would also be bound on oath to safeguard the chartered liberties of 
the citizens and administer justice according to their customs. 

1 No. II. 13. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xxi. 

Moreover, the right of electing their own chief ruler would 
doubtless carry with it the right of electing the subordinate officers 
of administration in the various departments of city business, or, in 
other words, of organising or at least taking under their own control 
the internal administration of the city. Although no contemporary 
evidence is forthcoming, it would be unreasonable not to anticipate 
at this point some of our later evidence in order to ascertain, so 
far as possible, what the municipal organisation of the city may 
have been when the citizens first took the management of it into 
their own hands. Their obligations were twofold : (i.) towards the 
King in both his seignorial and regal capacities ; (ii.) towards 
themselves chiefly in the administration of justice between man and 
man. It was their external relation to the King which would 
be the governing influence in the early organisation of municipal 
communities. The citizens of Norwich found themselves bound to 
collect the various items of the fee-farm rent to satisfy the King 
as their lord. To satisfy him as the fountain of national law and 
order they must strictly carry out the provisions of the law of 
Frankpledge, and be ready to answer to his judges when they came 
on their circuits by producing juries of inquest whenever required. 
They must also carry out the requirements of the Assize of Arms 
and organize themselves into a local militia. 

As Richard's Charter granted the citizens of Norwich the same 
liberties and customs as the citizens of London possessed, it is well 
to observe at once that the municipal organisation of the two cities 
was developed on quite distinct lines. The municipal divisions of 
London were at this time, and always after, associated each with 
its own ruling Alderman.^ No such conditions existed in Norwich. 
Before the time of the Conquest the Vill, as we have seen, had 
included three lordships, one of which the main " burgh " (out of all 
proportion the largest of the three) was itself formed by the union 
of three originally distinct settlements, which were even then, to 
some extent, topographically separated. As the result of the 
Conquest one of the two smaller lordships (Stigand's) disappeared 
and the other (Harold's) perhaps became amalgamated with the new 
French "burgh," which in influence, though not in numbers, rivalled 
the old English " burgh." ^ Thus during the twelfth century, while 

' Loftie Hist. Towns, London, pp. 73, 88, 97. Norton Const. Hist. etc. pp. 

58. 59. 

2 The then newly established Monastic Precinct was at the time outside the bounds ot 

the Vill. 

xxii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

the municipal life of Norwich was emerging into conscious activity, 
there were at first two rival burghs. The French burgh was a 
compact unit ; the English, governed by local conditions, must, more 
or less, have consisted of three sub-divisions. At what time the two 
burghs ceased to be opposed to one another we cannot say ; we have 
suggested that the Charter of Henry II. implies that the process of 
union was at least far advanced about 1158. Now, in the following 
century, when we first meet with definite evidence of municipal 
organisation, we find it based upon these same four divisions, 
the three of the English and the one of the French. The two 
burghs have so thoroughly amalgamated by that time that their 
divisions are mixed together. The official order is and always 
continued to be Conesford, Mancroft, Wymer, Over-the- Water. The 
second was the name of the district which had been the French 
burgh. The third was what had formerly been called Westwyk, and 
the fourth what had originally been Coselanye. It will be seen at 
once that this organisation originated from topographical conditions, 
and was not founded on seignorial franchises. 

These considerations may fairly warrant the assumption that this 
organisation was sufficiently in working order at the time of 
Richard's charter of self-government to meet its various require- 
ments, fiscal, police, judicial and military. As the Reeve of 1194 
was the first of the long series of elected chief rulers which still 
continues, so also we may say that the citizens, who elected him, 
in all probability gathered for that purpose in the four municipal 
divisions which for 210 years were known as the four Leets, and 
afterwards for 431 more as the four Great Wards of Norwich, always 
retaining the same names down to the Municipal Reform Act 
of 1835. 

4. Other Effects of the Charter. 

On most of the details of administration we have no direct 
evidence. There must, we suppose, have been some method other 
than that of a tumultuous open-air meeting by which the '• commune 
consilium " ^ of the citizens could be expressed. The " busting " 
or borough court mentioned in the charter may have been 
summoned for administrative as well as judicial business. But 

1 This expression is used of Lincoln, 1200 (Stubbs Select Charters 312), Ipswich, 
and Gloucester (Gross Gild Merchant II, 115, 374). It can at that time only denote a 
common assembly not an elected "common council." 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xxiii. 

the question of the possible character of a municipal assembly at 
this period would involve the very difficult question as to the rights 
and conditions of " citizenship " which cannot at this early stage be 
discussed for lack of evidence. 

One obvious question must be mentioned, but must also be 
reserved for later consideration. In the well-known case of Ipswich^ 
only a few years later than Richard's grant to Norwich, the 
townsmen on receipt of their charter, besides electing chief officers 
as the charter allowed, proceeded also to elect twelve " portmen " to 
conduct the business of the borough " as there are in other boroughs 
of England." If this were indeed the common practice at that time 
in the towns known to the men of Ipswich, we might be justified in 
concluding that Norwich, one of the most important of them, would 
not be an exception. But the actual record which contains these 
words is not contemporary," and, however natural such a step may 
seem, a local historian is bound to adhere to his local evidence. Our 
first definite evidence of such a select body in Norwich is lOO years 
later than Richard's charter, and for long after that time it is hardly 
possible to say that there was any permanent administrative body 
apart from the general community. 

Coroners. The charters of Richard and John frequently gave 
the right to elect Coroners. Norwich at an early time had two, but 
there is no record of their first appointment. We may assume 
that it would coincide with the grant of self-government, for it must 
be remembered that the office was a comparatively new one, and as 
yet the Coroner was rather the officer of the Crown than of the 
townspeople. As his name implied, his duty was to watch over 
the interests of the King, and that in fiscal no less than in judicial 
matters. He was a check on the Sheriff on the one hand and on the 
local authorities on the other. To be able to elect such an official 
from among themselves was, of course, a privilege greatly valued by 
those who possessed it. 

View of Frankpledge. This was a right which was very 
frequently claimed by the holder of a franchise as an incident of 
lordship. It would most probably pass to the citizens with " the 
city and its appurtenances." Such was the view expressed by the 
Crown advocate at the Inquisition at Cringleford in 1417 already 
referred to. The citizens' and commonalty, he pleads, have no 

1 Ipswich Little Domesday, fol. 77. 

2 Gross Gild Merchant 114 dates it "in the time of E. II." 

3 No. CCLXXXVI., Indictment 7. 

xxiv. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

right to hold view of frankpledge &c. in certain exempt districts 
" for that the said citizens and commonalty had no view of 
frankpledge nor any liberties or privileges except by grant of the 
said King Richard &c." But it must be understood what was 
meant by this right at the time. The primary object of holding 
a View of Frankpledge (or " Leet," as it was called in East Anglia) 
was to enquire into the due observance of the law by which every 
male of I2 years old and upwards (with some exceptions) was 
bound to enrol himself in a tithing, the members of a tithing 
being mutually responsible for each other's good conduct. At the 
View, which was held twice a year, amercements were exacted from 
those who were not duly enrolled. It was the duty of the Sheriff 
to hold these enquiries and he took the amercements for the King. 
But the manorial lords who were strong enough and boroughs which 
had won the right of self-government claimed to keep out the 
Sheriff and take control of the organisation with its penalties for 
their combined freedom and profit. Hitherto the Sheriff of Norfolk 
would have conducted this enquiry at Norwich. Now the citizens 
by their own oiificials held their View of Frankpledge in their own 

Beyond this primary object of enquiring into the observance 
of frankpledge a " Leet '' had already begun to exercise a further 
function, that of a court of local jurisdiction in petty offences. This 
was, of course, a more important and more profitable branch of 
local authority. We shall hereafter review ab.undant evidence as to 
its exercise in Norwich. But its origin must be connected with a 
further change in the government of the city which took place 
about a generation later than the granting of Richard's Charter. 
If so, the Sheriff would, in the interval, continue to summon the 
citizens to answer the enquiries as to offences ordered by the Assize 
of Clarendon in 1166. 

5. Nothing more touching municipal development in the city 
is recorded in the reigns of Richard or John. The latter King 
granted the citizens a charter" in his first year (1199). Though 
issued in his own name and without any reference to Richard, it is a 
mere verbal copy of the preceding charter, except that the fee- 
farm rent is ordered to be paid in " blanch " instead of in " tale." 
This, however, was not new, for the obligation is so expressed in 
the time of Richard." 

1 No. V. 2 Pipe Roll 9 Ric. I. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xxv. 

In 1205 a Fine was levied between the citizens and the Prior, 
defining their mutual relations in the suburban pasturage of Eaton 
and Lakenham. In the disturbance which marked the close of the 
reign of John and the accession of Henry III., Norwich Castle was 
occupied by Lewis the French King, and the City suffered great 
damage. But these disputes and disturbances did not affect the 
government or administration of the city, nor do they throw any 
side light on their details. 

III. — Communal Government under 4 Bailiffs, 1223 to 1404. 

I. Four Bailiffs in place of a Reeve. 

Not long after the commencement of the reign of Henry III. 
the official headship of the city was transferred from a Reeve to 
four Bailiffs. No actual authority for this step is to be found and 
its exact date is not quite certain It is traditionally assigned to 
the King's sixth year, 1223.' The titles in official documents 
addressed to Norwich at this period do not solve the question. 
As early as 3 John " Ballivi Norwici" are addressed.^ In 14 John, 
we find ",Rex Prepositis et probis hominibus Norwici,'"* in i H. III. 
"Rex Ballivis et Prepositis Norwici."* Again in 1229, when there 
certainly were Bailiffs the Charter of 13 H. III. speaks as though 
"Prepositi" were still being elected. Apparently the King's clerks 
did not recognise any definite distinction between the two titles.^ 
But it certainly adds to our appreciation of the change which was 
now taking place in Norwich if we mark what seems to be the 
natural distinction. The "Prepositus" or "Reeve" was so called 
in reference to his relation with his fellow-citizens. He held the 
headship of the city or borough. The " Bailiff" was so called in 
reference to the over-lord of the borough, generally the King. He 
was the executive officer of the King. The confusion arose from 
the two functions being so frequently united in the same person 
or persons. 

Our local records do not furnish quite sufficient evidence to 
arrive at a precise date. It is true that Blomefield gives a list of 

1 Blomefield III. 43, Merewether and Stephens, Hist. Engl. Boroughs, I. 437. 

2 Palgrave Rot. Cur. Regis, p. 413. 

3 Close Roll, 14 John. * Close Roll, I H. III. 

6 See Miss Bateson's remarks in Records of Leicester I. pp. xliii., xliv., and ^/ the 
case of Ipswich (Gross Gild Merchant II. 115.) 

xxvi. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Provosts and Bailiffs with a bare admission that he is not quite 
sure of it. In fact he has taken the names from a list in the 
Book of Pleas where no dates are assigned to them. It is, however, 
possible to compile a correct list of Bailiffs as far back as 1248, 
and there remain at least 23 other recorded sets of names of 
uncertain date.' This would carry us back to 1225, so that the 
date 1223 may be taken as fairly correct. 

2. Police Jurisdiction. 

More important than the exact date is the intention of the 
change. It must have been connected with the assumption of 
leet (or police) jurisdiction by the citizens. It has already been 
observed^ that a " I.eet '' court (the court of a franchise as dis- 
tinguished from that of the Sheriff in the rest of the county) had 
by this time come to include local jurisdiction in the matter of 
petty offences. This jurisdiction consisted of the annual present- 
ment of offences by local juries, the penalties being amercements 
of money assessed by elected members of the jury. This com- 
munal system of maintaining order arose out of the responsibility 
thrown by the central authority on the various local organisations 
of the kingdom, and it dealt with the minor offences which the 
King did not require to be reserved for his own judgment through 
his appointed judges. 

Before the end of this century we find this jurisdiction in full 
operation in Norwich and presided over by the Bailiffs. The city 
is divided into four Leets, and the Leets are organised into an 
elaborate system of subdivisions for police purposes. 

Now we have seen that the four principal divisions were of very 
much older origin and must have been utilised for the general 
administration of the city by the time of the first election of 
Reeves in 1 194, if not long before. We may conclude, therefore, 
that the number of four Bailiffs was adapted to the number of the 
four existing municipal divisions, and that from the first they were 
associated with the police jurisdiction which was (theoretically) a 
royal function exercised through the Hundred organisation. They 
were, in fact, the King's Bailiffs of the Hundred of Norwich.* 

J Norf. Arch. XI. 227. Le Strange Norf. Official Lists, p. 87. 

2 Ante p. xxiv. 

3 In this capacity we find them appearing conjointly before the Itinerant Justices with 
12 Hundred- Jurors, while the adjoining Hundreds appear with one Capital Bailiff and 12 
men (Assize Roll, 14 E. I., 1286.) 

Map 1. 








. 12. 












St. Pe^rae Sfnthgate 

St. E^ard 

St. Ekeldre 

St. Cld^ent 

St. Julii 

St. Micfttel JM Conesfoicd, 

St. Petel de P^rmentergafe 

St. Vedlst i 

St. Cuthfcerr. | 

St. Ethellfe^' 

St. Madgfches' Little 

St. Martin in pallia 

St. Tinui cleBerstrete 

All aaints iSte'^B^istrete 

^j^^ichael de !3ers|i»te 

S^ Bartbolcunew de ^erstre 

at. Sepnlchre "j; ^ 

St. Winwaloy/ 

3t. Stephen ■ 

St. Peter de Manecroft 

St. Giles 

St. Benedict i ^~t^ 

St. Swithin "i-'^V _ ^i 

%. Margaret d6]^tj)lk}ir*y/^' 

Sk Laureate . . I -^^ f 4 

Sy Gregory 

St. Martin before the Gales of the 

St. Giles' Church and Hospital 
St. Michael de Coselanye 
St. Mary de Coselanye 
St. Martin de Coselanye 
it. George de Colegatc 
^Clement de Fibrigg.^te ' 

St. Ttl^^r £)embust 
St. OU 

St. Aughstine 
a. podbh 

St. M^fi^t de Fibriggfttc 
Aj[L|Bp&tsl}e Fibriggate 
St. Savioufc-k 

. St. |iBJl««a%p--;--!«:^v 
St. giunw i 

St. Paul's (Norman's Hospig 
St. Mary in the Marsh 

Bridges, ^t 

:3n^ig^ otboEelanye 
"ew Brid^j, 


Hundegate -*'' ' 

before the Gat^of the 

Jude V 

Names of StrecH marked by I'ette 

Bridge of SfTTHartip- 

Other Sites. -" 

The J'olhouso'/ ,, 

Th%Shire H&fse 

CoU^e alJdW^ Mary in the Fields 

Fiist Site of the Black Friars 

Sit«' of the White Friars, 

Sitebf the Grey Fidaia- 

Silepf the Austin Fria r^ 

141% G*ptw»M> 




Over Conesford (King Street) 
Nether Conesford (Mountergate 
Street and St. Faith's Lane) 
(T. Berstrete 

d. Newgate (Surrey Street) 

e. Nedhamgate (St. Stephen's .Street) 
/ Over Newport (Bethel Street) 

£. Nether Newport (St. Giles' Street) 
A. Pottergate 1 

i. Over Westwick (St. ; Ben*dict's 
Street) f ~''. 


with their ii/^MS'"^ 



Ntther Westwick (Lower Westwick 
*»< Street^ 

tT&Tm^trete (BishOpi^te Street 1 
'•Coslanye (St. Martin's Street) 

Fibriggate (Magdalen Street) 






Orer the Water 

Private Jnrisdictioni; 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xxvii. 

It is quite possible that even under the Reeves there may 
have been four subordinate " bailiffs." When the Sheriff of Norfolk 
came (as he had done hitherto) to Norwich to enquire into offences 
under the Assize of Clarendon he might have summoned the whole 
city as one of the Hundreds of Norfolk. In that case, not the 
Reeve, but a Bailiff of the Hundred would have appeared with 
12 men. But the size of the city, already organised for other 
purposes in four divisions, makes it extremely probable that even 
then each of the four divisions was (as we find in i288y an 
integral Hundred of itself, and that four bailiffs, each with his 12 
men, appeared before the Sheriff. 

If this supposition is correct we may easily see the change 
which was effected in 1223. When full police jurisdiction (beyond 
the more limited View of Frankpledge) passed into the hands of 
the citizens there was more than one course open to them. They 
might have retained their chief officer with his old title of Reeve. 
Or they might presumably, if they pleased, like other towns of 
less importance, have called him Mayor. The bailiffs would then 
have acted under him as King's officers. Or .they might dispense 
with their present head and make the four Bailiffs into their chief 
officers, combining in their hands the old jurisdiction and the new. 
They chose this course. So the new Bailiffs exercised a double 
function, partly inheriting the headship of the city as successors 
to the Reeve, partly taking the place of the Sheriff of the county 
as police officers of the King.^ 

3. The organisation of Subleets. 

We have pre-supposed that at this time was originated the 
system of subleets which forms so distinguishing a feature of the 
municipal history of Norwich. A detailed description of their 
constitution and action in the matter of police jurisdiction must 
be reserved for an account of that branch of the city administra- 
tion." When we first meet with them in 1288 they are eleven in 
number, but probably there were originally twelve. They were 
plainly artificially formed by subdividing the whole number of 
about 160 tithings in the city in such a manner that each sub- 

^ See Introduction XII. 

2 It may be said that the Reeve also had in some sense taken the Sherilif' s place, as in 
the direct payment of the fee farm rent. But in that case the Sheriff acted for the King 
rather as lord of the city than as ruler of the kingdom. 

s Introduction, Section XII. 

xxviii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

division contained at least 12 tithings. This was because the 
annual presentments at the Leet Courts were made by the chief 
pledges of the tithings, and for this were required not less than 
12 sworn presenters. Each of the subleets made its presentments 
by itself Moreover, as the tithings were subordinate to the 
parishes,' the subleets consisted mostly of groups of adjoining 
parishes. One or two populous parishes could produce sufificient 
capital pledges to stand as subleets by themselves. Other subleets 
contained several parishes grouped together. Yet, although each 
subleet acted separately, they were supposed to be only subdivisions 
of the four Great Leets, three of the subleets belonging to Conesford, 
two to Mancroft, four to Wymer and two (perhaps originally three) 
to Ultra Aquam. These subleets (with a few rearrangements) 
continued to form the basis of the leet and also the militia 
administration of the city till the great civic reorganisation 
beginning in 1404, and finally by a slight modification they 
became the 12 Aldermanries (or Petty Wards) of the later 

4. Charters of Heniy III. 

In his 13* year (13 December, 1229), Henry granted a Charter^ 
to the citizens. Like the Charter of John it is (though granted de 
novo in Henry's name) a verbal copy for the most part of the 
charter of King Richard. It has, however, two additions : (i.) it 
gives the citizens the right to tallage and exact aids from all who 
reside in the city and share in the liberties,* whenever the citizens 
themselves are tallaged ; (ii.) it re-affirms, in the words of the charter 
of Henry II., the obligation on all who have withdrawn from their 
customs to return. 

Another charter^ granted in his 39* year (3 June, 1255) exempts 
citizens and their goods from arrest for debts in cases where they 
were neither principals nor pledges. This was not to apply to cases 
where the debtors, belonging to their " communa," had sufficient to 
pay the whole or part of the debt and yet the " citizens " failed to do 
justice to the creditors. Besides the commercial bearing of this 
charter we must carefully notice the word " communa," here used 
for the first time in our records. It is plainly equivalent to " cives " 

1 Doubtless not as ecclesiastical units. An urban parish was utilised as equivalent to 
a country vill or township. See No. L. At Leicester four wards seem to have been so 
used. Records of Leicester I. 359, note 3. 

2 No. VI. ' Not necessarily in the government. * No. VII. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xxix. 

considered as an organized body. If the debtors belong to the 
'• communa " the " cives " are bound to see that justice is done. 
It plainly also answers to the " societas " of the charter of Henry II., 
repeated in the earlier charter of Henry III. Both words must 
express the whole body of admitted citizens. 

In the following year (25 March, 1256) a privilege of great 
importance was conferred by a further charter.^ This was the 
Return of Writs touching the city and its liberties. It was also 
granted that the citizens might by their own hands answer to the 
Exchequer for all debts and demands and no Sheriff or King's 
Bailiff should enter the city to make distraints for debts, except on 
default of the citizens. This privilege, somewhat strengthened by 
the charter of 33 E. I., was described as the "'return and execution 
of all writs," and was constantly appealed to as a most valuable 
basis of self-government. Numerous cases of the way in which it 
was used are preserved in our records.^ The writs in such cases 
were still directed to the Sheriff, but he had to pass them on to 
the Bailiffs. When due notice had been given to the parties 
concerned the writs were returned to the Sheriff But the Bailiffs, 
being thus aware that certain cases belonging to their jurisdiction 
were about to be tried in the King's court at Westminster or 
elsewhere, took care to appear at the place and day named in 
the writ and claimed the case out of the King's court into their 
own by virtue of the chartered right of the citizens not to be forced 
to plead or be impleaded outside the city. The claim was always 
allowed and the case transferred to the local court. 

This charter contains another short but important clause " that 
no gild shall be held in the city to the detriment of the said city." 
It will be shown in dealing with the commercial progress of the 
city that this grant does not refer to a "merchant gild"' but was 
intended to prohibit the formation of private gilds of craftsmen 
who were beginning to claim to control their own members and 
take fines and amercements from them which should have gone 
to the common profit of the citizens.'' 

5. Enclosure of the City. 

Perhaps, on the whole the most important event of this period 
was the enclosure of the city in 1253 with a bank and ditch. The 

1 No. VIII. "^ See the procedure in No. CCXLI. 

8 So Merewether and Stephens explain it. Hist. Engl. Bor. I. 437. 

1 See No. CCCXVI. 

XXX. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

royal licence granting this privilege is not preserved, but there is 
no reason to doubt the definite statement of the monks of the 
Cathedral Priory.^ They complain that the citizens then enclosed 
many lands in various directions which had hitherto belonged to 
other lords and had lain in other hundreds. These lands are 
specified and may be fairly traced. The conclusion, however 
strange, seems to be inevitable, that up to this time the city had 
possessed no defensible circuit. Yet the word " suburbium " occurs 
in documents of an earlier period. As already suggested, the 
question may be more fittingly discussed in connection with the 
disputes about jurisdiction in the suburbs at the beginning of the 
15'h century. 

It may be asked, For what purpose did the citizens obtain 
this license and undertake a work of great expense .-' No doubt, 
partly, in self defence. In 1174 and again in 1216 they had been 
plundered without apparently being able to defend themselves. 
But it may be conjectured that they desired still more to secure 
to themselves the more complete enjoyment of their growing 
privileges. Access to and from the country was henceforth blocked 
except through gates provided for the main roads.^ Control of all 
sorts, especially in respect of tolls, could more easily be maintained. 
Neither of these objects was fully attained till the bank was 
surmounted by a wall, which was not begun for more than 40 years 
and not finished for nearly 100 years. Even the bank itself was 
perhaps not completed when 14 years later, in December, 1266, 
the Disinherited Barons attacked the city and, in spite of the 
attempted resistance of the citizens, had no difificulty in storming 
it and subjecting it to terrible slaughter and plunder.' 

6. Great Riot ; question of a Governing Body. 

Before the citizens could well have recovered from this 
catastrophe there occurred the most disastrous riot in the annals 
of the city. In 1272, in consequence of a quarrel between the 
monks and the citizens, the latter attacked the monastery and 
destroyed many of the monastic buildings as well as doing serious 
damage to the Cathedral.^ The King himself hurried to Norwich. 

1 Pundatio etc., No. XXXIII. 

2 Opposition of Country People, etc., No. XXXIV. 
8 Chronicle of Thomas Wykes, anno 1266. 

^ A full account of the riot is given by Bloraefield (III. 53 to 58) taken from the 
Chronicle of Bartholomew Cotton, a monk of Norwich, the Liber Alius of Norwich f. 127, 
and other sources, 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xxxi. 

The city was put under an interdict, many of the citizens were 
hung or fled for their hves. The liberties were seized and were 
not restored till 1276. King Henry died soon after the riot. The 
citizens were condemned to pay 3,000 marks towards repairing 
the damages to the Cathedral and other buildings, and King 
Edward I. was present at the reconsecration of the Cathedral on 
Advent Sunday, 1278. 

In the course of this disturbance we meet with what appears 
to be a definite statement as to the government of the city at this 
time. It occurs in the Bull of Excommunication issued in 12731 
against the "citizens and community" (cives et communitatem) of 
Norwich. Throughout the document the offending parties are 
described as the " universitas Norwici." This " universitas " or 
"communitas" must, as usual, mean the whole body of citizens, 
not here as distinguished from non-citizens but as distinguished 
from the monks and their supporters. But is the word " cives " 
simply redundant, or does it distinguish some citizens from the 
rest of the "' communitas " } Some language in a later part of the 
document seems to show that such a distinction is intended. 
After describing the first excesses the Pope proceeds, "The afore- 
said university and especially Nicholas de Ely, Roger de Swerdeston, 
William de Dunwich and Adam le Spicer rulers (rectores) of the 
city who are commonly called Bailiffs and also Master John le 
Brun [and others named, 16 in all] citizens of Norwich by whose 
counsel the said university at that time was ruled " were summoned 
to come into the monastery. They came, but stirred up more 
mischief, etc. Blomefield accepts this statement to mean that these 
four Bailiffs and 16 others were " the governours and common- 
council of the city of Norwich at that time." It is certain that there 
was no " common council " (as representatives of the community) in 
Norwich till 130 years after the date of this riot. But the 16 might 
have been elected as the "24" were at a later time to assist the 
Bailiffs. The number would represent four chosen from each 
Leet. On the other hand the number may have been a mere 
accident. In 1267, the Master of the Hospital of St. Paul claims 
the rights of the Hospital against 12 specified citizens including 
the four Bailiffs.'' In 11 Edward I. (1283) 24 citizens witness an 
important Deed of Obligation on behalf of the Community.' In 

1 Extracts are given in No. XXXV. ■■ Coram Rege Roll, 52 H. III. 

8 No. CLII. 

xxxii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

14 E. I. (1286) 12 of the richer and more discreet men are to be 
seized for non-payment of debts to the King.' While, therefore, 
we take note of this statement we must reserve our judgment as 
to whether we have here a trace of an annually elected body of 
citizens until we come to the mention of the " 24." 

It must have taken the citizens some years to recover from 
the effects of these two catastrophes. But when they had once 
settled down, they enjoyed a very long period of immunity from 
any serious political trouble. They did, indeed, incur the King's 
displeasure in 1285 by summarily hanging a thief who had been 
indicted at the leet but had not been caught in the act.^ The 
liberties of the city were seized at Easter and restored (with pardon 
for the burning of the Cathedral in 1272) on 27 May.^ On the 
same day a royal Charter^ was also granted, reciting and confirming 
the two charters of 13 and 40 H. III. On St. Peter's day (29 
June) the Warden appointed during forfeiture gave place to two 
Bailiffs who sat till four were regularly appointed at the following 

On 8 July, 1305, the King granted the citizens a second 
Charter' which in the prolonged litigation of the 15'h century was 
often appealed to as a basis of liberties. Its immediate occasion 
was a petition from the citizens for the grant of jurisdiction in the 
Leet of Newgate." This was a portion of the city which had 
belonged to the Prior but had lately been recovered in a law suit 
by the Crown. It was now granted to the citizens, ;^io being 
added to the fee farm rent. The Charter also re-affirmed their 
exemption from extrinsic pleading and serving on juries, with the 
addition that in intrinsic appeals they should be convicted by none 
but their fellow-citizens. Some other clauses were either new or 
extensions of their former liberties : (i.) all persons arrested in the 
city should be detained only in the city prison or in custody of 
their bailiffs till they were rightfully delivered to the justices ; (ii.) 
execution of all summonses and all "regalia" were to be in the 
hands of "our bailiffs,'" and no Sheriff or other foreign royal 
servant should exercise any regality within the bounds of the city 
except in default of the Bailiffs ; (iii.) the Bailiffs might assess 
tallages on the whole community " by assent of the whole com- 
munity or the major part thereof"; (iv.) non-user of any liberties 

1 Madox Firma Burgi, p. 184. 2 No. LXXXVII. 

e Rot. Pat. 13 E. I. ?«. 18. * No. IX. » No. X. 

^ Now Surrey street, ' The Bailiffs of the city. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xxxiii. 

in the past was not to be a bar to their future use. The specific 
statement of all these rights caused this charter to be cited on many 
future occasions. 

On 4 December, 1306, they further strengthened their position 
by making a Composition^ with the Prior and Convent settling (at 
least for a time) various questions of disputed jurisdiction. 

7. The City at the close of the i^th century. 

We may look upon the period on which the city entered at 
the restoration of their liberties in 1285 as marking one of those 
fresh starts which we meet with from time to time. The two 
Bailiffs who took in hand the government of the city on 29 June 
at once began a new Roll of Deeds enrolled in the City Court.^ 
Earlier RoUs are referred to, but they are lost. From this time they 
run continuously till 1340. The activity of the citizens is evidenced 
by the fact that before the century was out more than 1,000 deeds 
(nearly all conveyances of property) had been enrolled. Three 
years later than these charter Rolls begins a valuable series of Leet 
Rolls' of which seven belong to this period. Besides these we have 
an Account Roll of a City Chamberlain running from 1293 to 1305.* 
And lastly to this period we may assign at least the substance of a 
"Custumal" which is printed in this volume from a 15'^ century 
copy, but of which a more original copy has since unexpectedly 
come to light in the recently recovered " Book of Customs."^ It is 
unfortunate that none of the records of the municipal Assembly 
until a much later date have survived. Still, with the help of the 
abundant material which time and neglect have spared to us, we 
can picture to ourselves with considerable fulness the condition of 
the civic life of Norwich at the close of the 13* century and the 
commencement of the 14*. 

8. First we must take the "communitas."" To it and it alone 
is all official authority ascribed in matters of self-government. In the 
absence of any records of the Assembly at this period the evidence 
for this statement can only be indirect. But it is sufficiently clear. 
Grants and licenses to deal with public land or property' are issued 
in the name of the community. When a thief is to be tried under 

1 Blomefield III. 71. 2 Nos. LXXXIX. to CLI. 

« Nos. CCCXIII. etc. « This will be given in Vol. II. '" See p. xKxix. 

8 This word is best translated "community" when it means the whole body of 
citizens; and "commonalty" when it is restricted to the commons as distinct from a 
select body. ' Nos. XCI., CXXVI. etc. 


xxxiv. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

the seignorial privilege of " infangentheof " it is the " tota com- 
munitas" before which he is presumed to be standing and by which 
he is condemned.^ When the cherished Charters of Liberties and 
other public documents are handed for safe custody from one official 
to another it is to the community that they are said to be delivered 
up by the former, and by assent of the community they are trans- 
ferred to new custodians.^ When the most solemn sanction is required 
for any public act it is sealed with the " sigillum communitatis."' 

This is common knowledge. The question is, What is meant 
by " communitas " at this period ? We have seen that in earlier 
instances of its use it is plainly a description of the whole body of 
citizens. So it manifestly must be at the time of which we are now 
speaking. The King grants rights and privileges and authority to 
the " citizens " of Norwich. The " community " of Norwich enjoys 
and exercises them. We must further ask therefore, What is meant 
by "civis" at this time? The answer given by our records is plain. 
A "citizen" at the close of the 131'! century (whatever may have 
been the case before) was one who, having sought admission into 
the privileged and exclusive body which possessed the chartered 
liberties, after due examination and on payment of duly arranged 
fees was admitted into participation with the existing members of 
the body. The early Leet Rolls are full of cases of persons 
presented for exercising the rights of citizenship without having 
" made their entry." The conditions of admission are set forth as 
matters of solemn obligation in the 36'^ chapter of Customs.* 
Resident inhabitants who had never been admitted " into the 
freedom," although they necessarily shared in some of the liberties, 
had no share in the government of the city, and might at any time 
after a residence of a year and a day be called upon to obtain their 

The Bailiffs. The authority exercised by the Community over 
its members was, of necessity, committed to a definite executive. 
This was the four elected Bailiffs. As already observed, they had 
succeeded to the Reeve's position as chief citizens as well as being 
for other purposes the King's officers. The almost invariable title 
of the governing body at this time, if not "communitas" alone, is 
"Ballivi et Communitas." Over all the meetings of the citizens, 
whether administrative or judicial, the Bailiffs presided. 

1 No. LXXXVII. 2 No. CXVIII. " No. XCII. 

1 No. XLIX. ch. 36. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xxxv. 

9. A select body of citizens. — On this subject, already approached 
more than once, we are able now to make a slightly more definite 
statement. In two chapters at the end of the Custumal we have the 
first actual mention of an annually elected body of Twenty-Four 
Citizens. In Chapter 46 it is ordained that in order to avoid 
fraudulent work supervisors should be appointed in each craft. 
These supervisors are to be chosen by ~" the Bailiffs and 24 of the 
city elected in common." If they report any false work the 
" Bailiffs and 24 elected in the name of the community " are to 
exact amends from the delinquents. If the supervisors themselves 
fail in their duty they are to be heavily amerced " by the common 
decision of the 24 elected by the community." The 47* Chapter, 
dealing with the just assessment of tallages between the rich and the 
poor, directs that the collectors, receivers, and the Chamberlain of 
the city should annually on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed 
Mary, and at other times if required, render an account " before the 
24 or the major part of them who shall be in the city." 

The first of these chapters might refer to a body annually 
elected for a special purpose. Such a special body is mentioned 
in Chapter 36, where it is ordered that newly admitted citizens 
should " make their entry before those who are assigned for that 
purpose by the whole community every year." The number of 
these persons is not given, but it is ordered that "at least 12 of 
those assigned " should always be present. The 47''' chapter, 
however, seems undoubtedly to refer to an official body known 
as "the Twenty-Four" and entrusted with authority of a high 
order. On the other hand, it seems certain that they were 
entirely subordinate to the " Community," and did not even (as 
a body) take part in the deliberations of the Assembly. Chapter 
45 of the Custumal, immediately preceding the mention of the " 24," 
must be held to prove this. Public business, it says, is often 
hindered because citizens when summoned to common assemblies 
do not trouble to come. Therefore in each leet the sergeant 
of the bailiffs is to summon of the better and more discreet, 
12, 10 or 8, according to the size of the leet, to come on fixed 
days. If they then fail they are to be fined. Now at a later 
time we shall find that this very obligation of attending assemblies 
under a penalty for absence is especially laid on a body of " 24." 
If that had been the case with the "24" of the Custumal there 
would have been no occasion for the order in Chapter 45. The 

xxxvi. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

blame would have been thrown on those who were bound to attend. 
If then they had no official connection with the Assembly it is plain 
that they in no sense occupied the position of a Common Council, 
nor (which is the more correct parallel) of a superior body of 
Aldermen, as they eventually became. 

lO. Citizens and Community. — We cannot rise from a study 
of the Custumal without concluding that, in theory, between one 
citizen and another there was absolute equality whether of privilege 
or burden. The common expression in the 13'b century Leet 
Rolls is ''concivis,'' fellow-citizen. Throughout the Custumal, and 
especially in the chapter which deals with the mode of admission 
the still more significant expression " par civitatis " is used. An 
applicant is admitted "in parem civitatis" (to become a "peer" 
of the city), that is one who at least in rights and liberties would 
after admission stand on an equal footing with all the other members 
of the body. 

Yet although the community was thus made up of so many 
"peers" or equals, we certainly find from time to time an apparent 
distinction made between some and others. We find the acting 
authority on some occasions described as " Ballivi, Cives et Com- 
munitas." We have considered a case in connection with the Riot 
of 1272.1 It occurs also in the Agreement in 1306 between the 
" Prior et Conventus Norwici " and the " Ballivi, Cives et Com- 
munitas."^ Even in deeds amongst themselves it is not infrequently 
found. ° What are we to understand by this? After what has been 
said we cannot allow that there were any "citizens'' who were not 
members of the "community," or that there was any "community" 
other than the whole body of " citizens." * 

We may note that instead of " civis " another expression is 
sometimes used, " probi homines," men of trust and credit. This 
may help us to a conclusion. The word " civis " in this compound 
title did not at this time denote official rank but social condition. It 
described the class of leading citizens. Sometimes it meant those 
who were actually present and acting in the name of the whole 
Community. Sometimes it described the class in general, especially 

1 p. 39. ■■= p. 41. 8 No. CXXIX. 

^ A suggestion to this effect has been made by Mrs. Green, Town Life in the Fifteenth 
Century II. 368, 399. The writer is no doubt correct in thinking that the burdens of 
citizenship led to inhabitants shrinking from asking admission to the freedom. But 
surely those who did so were not reckoned as members of the franchised ' ' community. ' ' 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich, xxxvii. 

when the words " probi homines" or similar expressions are )jsed."^ 
It is necessary, in this connection, to remember that the law had not 
yet come to treat a '' communitas " as a responsible unit apart from 
its individual members. If default arose in any obligation to the 
King he would visit it personally on the Bailiffs and leading citizens. 
The Sheriff might be ordered to seize any he could find. This 
burden of responsibility thus forced from without on the leading 
citizens was, in all probability, as we shall see, the most potent of the 
influences which made for the so-called oligarchical development of 
municipal government which culminated in the "corporations" of 
later times. 

II. We may ask. How could such an indeterminate class 
be distinguished ? The answer is, that the citizens undoubtedly 
did recognise a classification of themselves according to property. 
For instance, Chapter 47 of the Custumal speaks of the " greater 
men," the " middle people," and the " poor " as three distinct 
classes.^ This has reference to taxation, and was a matter which 
the citizens and non-citizen inhabitants would have to settle among 
themselves. But beyond this we may observe that there was one 
way by which the property qualification of their fellow citizens 
(especially of the " greater men ") was patent to all men's eyes. 
This was a View of Arms held under the requirements of the 
Assize of Arms.' On such occasions the men who were required 
by their property qualification to be ' fully armed and ride as 
knights were manifested to all as the rich. The men who were 
required to be armed but not to be mounted might pass for a middle 
class, while the mass who wore no defensive armour and carried 
any offensive weapons they chanced to possess would be counted 
for the poor. This spectacle must have been familiar to all, and 
may help us to see that the terms " rich " and " poor " might 
be used with a fairly true definition. 

When, therefore, it was desired within the city to summon to 
their duties those who were best able to bear civic burdens, or 
from without to fix responsibility on those who could afford to 
satisfy the penalties demanded by outraged royal authority, there 
was no difficulty in selecting the fitting persons. 

12. How far and in what ways the leading citizens were 
called upon to serve officially we can gather to some extent. One 

1 No. XCIX ; Custumal ch. 45. ^ See also No. XXXVI. 

3 See Preface to Militia, etc., Introd., Section XIII. 

xxxviii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

principal duty laid upon them was evidently that of assessment. 
The property qualifications sufficient for the Assize of Arms would 
not be definite enough for the subsidies, tallages and other demands 
which were so often made. Even if an assessment were allowed 
to run for more than one demand it would require revision very 
soon. This was apparently a fertile source of complaint on the 
part of the poorer classes. Again, the burden of suit of court, 
of the details of which we unfortunately have no actual evidence, 
must have been borne by the rich. There is some slight trace 
of their presence as assessors to the Bailiffs in the Leet Courts,^ 
and the Bailiffs must have had supporters in the Civil Courts. 
Day by day they sat in their court for the transaction of business, 
much of which, as we may see by a perusal of the Customs, 
involved a knowledge of many intricate points of law. Whoever 
they were who formed the " court," they must have been experts 
in such knowledge, and moreover a large proportion of the leading 
class, which after all was only limited, served once or more in 
the arduous and responsible office of Bailiff. 

While therefore we fail to find as yet any select body who 
can be said to stand above or even in place of the Community, 
we certainly find trace of a fairly developed ruling class being 
gradually evolved out of the Community by political and social 
influences. That private interest worked in the same direction 
is doubtless true. But so far as we are here concerned in tracing 
the development of the municipal institutions of the city it is 
enough to say that, apart from any designs of self-interest, the 
leading class of citizens at the beginning of the 14* century was 
but fulfilling the destiny to which it was urged by the needs of 
its surroundings. How that destiny in course of time shaped itself 
into the more concrete form of a distinct ruling body on the one 
hand and a representative council of the rest of the citizens on 
the other it will be our task to show. 

IV. — The Evolution of a Select Body of Citizens during the 
14th Century. 

I. The Reign of Edward II. 

We have seen that in 1305 the citizens had obtained the 
jurisdiction over an exempt part of the city as well as some 

' Leet Jurisdiction in Norwich, p. xli. 

Selected Records of the City, of Norwich. xxxix. 

confirmation and even enlargement of their Charter ; and that in 
December, 1306, they had further consolidated their position by a 
general Agreement with the Prior and Convent, their principal 
rivals. We here come upon the earliest of those City Books from 
which so much of our information is derived, the " Book of Customs."^ 
It was not a book of" Memoranda" according to its original design. 
It has an original table of contents which enables us to ascertain its 
date and purpose. It begins with a copy of the " Custumal." Then 
follow the Charter of 13 E. I. and the pardon for the damage to the 
Cathedral granted the same day. After that are entered the grant 
of Newgate in 1305 (described as "against the Prior and Convent") 
and the Agreement with these rivals in December, 1306. These are 
all the local documents originally included. The rest of the 
contents consists of Statutes and royal Ordinances, the earliest being 
Magna Charta of 9 H. III. and the latest the Statutes of Gloucester 
of 1298. There was therefore originally nothing later than 
December, 1306. -On the other hand there are entered, in very 
similar writing, in the Book but not in the Table of Contents, the 
Ordinances agreed to by Edward II. in October, 131 1. The Book, 
therefore, must have been compiled between these two dates. Now 
Edward I., who had made them the important grants referred to, 
died on 7 July, 1307. The accession of a new King, no doubt, 
caused the citizens to place on record their cherished Customs and 
the Charters granted by the late King as well as the Statutes of 
the Realm by which they were bound. The chief value of the book 
is that it enables us to assign an approximate date to the Custumal 
and all its varied contents, including the mention of the " 24 " 
referred to in the last section. 

The 20 years of this reign contained nothing of municipal 
interest till quite at its close. On 2'"' February and 3'" February, 
1326, the King made two grants to the citizens, both dated from 
Walsingham. He had been in Norwich the previous week. The 
first of these grants," in the form of Letters Patent, requires some 
explanation, especially as it is erroneously ascribed by Blomefield' 
to the 19* year of Edward I. It is an order to the Justices assigned 

1 It has had a remarkable history. Quoted by Kirkpatrick and Blomefield in the 
early part of the l8th century it completely disappeared from the view of students and has 
only just come to light again. Its re-appearance was unfortunately too late for any use to 
be made of it in the selected documents in this volume, but happily in time to furnish 
some useful help in the Introduction. 

2 No. XI. 8 Blomefield III. 65. 

xl. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

to hold assizes and gaol deliveries, prohibiting them from sitting 
anywhere but in the Shire Hall. Justices Itinerant and some others 
may sit where they please. It is alleged that the former Justices 
held sessions in places deputed for holding pleas triable by the 
Bailiffs " from which a great part of the city farm is derived." They 
thereby disturbed the Bailiffs from holding their pleas and hindered 
the citizens from collecting their farm. The pleas which these 
Justices came to hold in the City cannot have been County pleas. 
They were probably City pleas which had been reserved for the 
Justices assigned. When holding them (say) in the Tolhouse these 
Justices found other pleas newly arisen (" placita emergencia ") 
waiting for trial at that day and place and proceeded to try them 
and take the profits of court which they had no right to do. They 
were ordered to confine their sessions to the Shirehouse where no 
city pleas would have been called. 

The other grant was a Charter of Confirmation.^ It recites by 
Inspeximus the Charters of 13 and 33 Edward I. As the Charter 
of 13 Edward I. itself included the earlier charters, this amounted 
to a recital of them all except that of Henry II. The Charter is 
dated at Walsingham on the day following the Letters Patent just 

2. The Reign of Edward III. Important Privileges. 

The commencement of the reign of Edward III. appears, if 
we are not misjudging certain indications, to have found Norwich 
in a state of something like depression. Our earliest surviving list 
of contributors to a subsidy is of 6 E. III. (1332.)^ The total 
number in Norwich is only 415, an unexpectedly small number for 
what ought to represent the full total of resident householders. 
Still more unexpected is another fact revealed in this subsidy. 
Whereas the total contribution from the 415 Norwich tax-payers 
amounted to £Z^ Sj. 6d., in Yarmouth 281 contributors paid 
^102 i8j-., implying a far greater proportionate wealth in Yarmouth 
than in Norwich. Two years later (in 1334) the rating of the 
various cities, boroughs, and townships throughout the kingdom 
for the purposes of a subsidy was, by mutual agreement between 
them and the Crown, settled permanently at certain fixed sums. 
The Norwich tax was then fixed at £g\ 12s., but the Yarmouth 

1 No. XII. 2 p_R,o. Lay Subsidies "». 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xli. 

liability was set at £100.^ The rivalry of Yarmouth at this time 
was sufficient to cause no little anxiety to the citizens of Norwich. 
Yarmouth had control of the mouth of the river and claimed tolls 
and customs from Norwich goods as they passed through. The 
dispute was argued out in a plea held at Westminster in 1331.^ 
It was on this occasion that the citizens traced the origin of their 
self-government, with the possession of their port dues and other 
tolls (in consideration of the payment of a fee farm rent), to the 
grant of King Henry II., as we have noticed in speaking of his 
Charter. The Norwich citizens succeeded in freeing their goods 
from toll but, as the subsidy of 1334 shows, Yarmouth continued 
for a long time to be a formidable rival. While, however, this and 
other indications reveal at least a temporary depression we soon find 
signs of energetic municipal activity. In 1337, the citizens obtained 
from the King a Charter^ reciting the Charter of Edward II. with 
all its included Charters and confirming in his own name all the 
privileges therein granted. They then went on to carry to a 
conclusion the surrounding of the city with a stone wall, a work 
which had been in progress ever since 1294. In 1337 a murage 
was granted for five years.^ In 1341 the King held a tournament 
in the city and stayed there several weeks. He doubtless observed 
the strength of the new walls as compared with the feeble earth- 
works of the old enclosure of the castle. But as yet the walls were 
not furnished with sufficient towers nor supplied with engines of 
war. This final work was accomplished by the munificence of a 
patriotic citizen, Richard Spynk,* In return the citizens granted 
him and his heirs exemption from all exactions and municipal 
burdens, and on 25 July, 1344, he formally released the citizens 
from all other demands on his part. 

The completion and fortification of the walls is ascribed to 
a desire to provide " for the profit and defence of the city and 
adjacent country and for the honour of the King." But it is certain 
that, as we observed in connection with the earlier enclosure of the 
city with a bank and ditch, the citizens also had in view the 
greater control they would thus gain over the people and goods 
entering into or issuing from the gates, and the greater profits to 
be obtained through tolls and customs. 

1 The Assessment of the Townships of Norfolk is given in the Book of Pleas fol. Ixi., 
and has been published in Norfolk Archaology xii. 243. ^ No. XXXVII. 

8 No. XIII. * Rot. Pat. II E. III. ^ Old Free Book, fols. 3, 4. 

xlii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

This motive is still further evidenced in the next step they 
took in the same direction. The extensive space of ground outside 
the Castle moat, consisting of two horse-shoe shaped portions still 
enclosed by dilapidated earthworks, was an exempt jurisdiction 
belonging to the King. It was a constant source of irritation to 
the citizens even more than the enclosure of the Cathedral Priory. 
They had some sort of understanding with the monks. But into 
the Castle enclosure, so they alleged, felons and lawless persons 
fled and "took refuge there and avoided justice, being screened by 
the Sheriff of the county and the bailiffs of his liberty and so 
could not be punished, which encouraged many such felons and 
hardened others in their wickedness." 

This exempt fee the citizens were anxious to have under their 
own control, and perhaps, now that the defence of the city was 
provided for by the completion of the walls, they were emboldened 
to make a direct petition to the King, who was in Norwich on 
December 27'h, 1344, to grant them their desire. They made a 
petition in some form and on 16 June, 1345. an Inquisition was 
held to ascertain what damage the King would suffer if he acceded 
to their request. The result of the enquiry was favourable to the 
citizens and on 19 August a Charter' was granted transferring the 
fee to them with the exception of the Castle with its moat and 
the Shirehouse which stood in the southern of the two enclosures. 
As an equivalent for the ordinary profits which the King would 
lose, an increase of £2 lA^s. \d. was to be added to the existing 
fee- farm rent. 

Beyond this important acquisition to their unhindered enjoy- 
ment of the city the Charter added still another favour. At the 
special request of Queen Isabel, the King's mother, and in recom- 
pense for the cost of building the walls, it was granted that the 
citizens should for the future be free from the jurisdiction of the 
Clerk of the Market of the King's household. 

3. Further Mention of Twenty-Four Citizens. 

The citizens were evidently very pleased with having secured 
such important advantages. They considered themselves as entering 
on a new career of municipal activity, and the epoch is distinctly 
marked in the records by the commencement of a new Book of 
Memoranda. This was a book now called the " Old Free Book." 

1 No. XIV. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xliii. 

Its original intention is stated on fol. v. To tlie names of the 
Bailiffs who served from Michaelmas, 1344, to Michaelmas, 1345, is 
appended the following note^ : "In whose time this paper [book] 
was first provided and bought by Richard Spynk, citizen of the city 
of Norwich, in which it was determined that the memoranda of the 
said Community should be set down ; and in their time the fee 
of the Castle as regards [de] the tenants was granted to the 
community by charter of the King to be held for ever." Richard 
Spynk's purpose was only carried out for a few years. There are 
several most important entries relating to the years between 1344 
and 1349. Then there is a gap. Again a few are entered between 
1365 and 1376. About 1384 the book was utilised by the then 
Town Clerk for a different purpose, the enrolment of the names 
of newly admitted citizens. To tliis use it was then permanently 
devoted. Hence its present name. 

Although (perhaps owing to the catastrophe of the Black 
Death in 1349) Richard Spynk's original intention was carried 
out only for so short a time, yet he has preserved for us some 
special information of great value to the student of the municipal 
history of the city. Among the entries for the four years, 1344 
to 1347, we have the names not only of the newly elected Bailiffs 
but also of "24 citizens'' elected at the same time in each year. 
The value of the entries is enhanced by the fact that in two of 
them a specific statement is made of the duties which the persons 
thus elected were intended to fulfil. 

In 1344, after recording the names of four Bailiffs, two 
Chamberlains and four " custodes clavorum," all elected for the 
ensuing official year, the entry proceeds as follows : " Nomina 
xxiiij""' eodem anno electorum et ordinatorum per totam com- 
munitatem in presentia quorum sen maioris partis eorum, si omnes 
interesse non possint, negotia ciuitatis communitatem tangentia in 
actis deducerentur." Then follow 24 names, six from each of the 
four Leets of Conesford, Manecroft, Wymer and Ultra Aquam. 

In 134s the phraseology is somewhat altered. It runs thus^ : 
" Nomina xxiiij. electorum de Ciuitate Norwici pro communitate 
et negotia eiusdem ordinand' et custodiend' per idem tempus." Then 
follow the names arranged under the four Leets, but not in equal 
numbers, and amounting in all to 26 instead of 24. Conesford 
has four, Manecroft and Wymer 10 each, and Ultra Aquam only 
two. They are all marked as "sworn." 

1 No. CLIV. 2 No. CLV. 

xliv. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

In 1346 and 1347 no description of duties is given. ^ In the 
former of these two years the numbers are equally divided between 
the four Leets, six to each. In the latter Conesford has four names, 
and each of the other Leets has seven, making 25 in all. In all four 
years the phrase " nomina xxiiij " is used without reference to the 
exact number elected. 

4. It is plain from the two descriptions given above that 
we have here the election of a body charged for a year with 
special obligations, and it may be the same body as that mentioned 
in the Custumal. But it is not easy to define with any precision 
what was its exact position and duties. What is meant by "the 
business of the city touching the community"? Would it include 
all the business transacted at the Assembly, or only such business 
(whether in the Assembly or not) as concerned the whole body 
of citizens ? And what is meant by "reducing this business into 
acts"? Is that an expression for "enacting," that is, by formal 
enrolment?" This would seem to be confirmed by the words "in 
the presence of whom." If we turn to the other description, which 
seems to imply a wider sphere of action, it is equally lacking in 
definiteness. The words appear to mean, " the names of the 24 
elected from the city of Norwich for the community and (for) 
ordering and guarding the business thereof for the said time."' 
How were they to carrj'- out this duty? We have no evidence 
to show. The impression left on the mind is that they were rather 
chosen for purposes of supervision and safeguarding the interests 
of the community than specially elected members of the deliberative 
Assembly. The absence, also, of any mention of giving counsel 
and assistance to the Bailiffs is peculiar if that was their position. 

6.^ The earliest surviving Assembly Rolls. 

The outburst of municipal activity which we have been 

1 Nos. CLVI. and CLVII. 

2 In the Assembly Roll for 5 Feb., 1414, we find " Nomina electorum ad essendum et 
ordinandum pro factura istius ordinacionis, ita quod inact', etc." The enacting here seems 
to include putting the ordinance into shape. On that occasion 13 persons were specially 
chosen. No. CXCIII. (end). 

3 C/; the similar language used of a body of 24 elected in Leicester in 1225 by the 
Community of the Gild "to advise the town and serve the Alderman in town-business to 
the utmost of their power" {Leicester Records I., 34). 

^ In consequence of the recovery of the Book of Customs, sub-section 5, which dealt 
with the mention of the " 24" in Chapters 46 and 47 of the Custumal, is now incorporated 
in Introd. III., 9. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xlv. 

considering was only short-lived. It received what must for a 
time have been an overwhelming blow from the occurrence of the 
Black Death in 1349, the effect of which upon the city will be 
discussed elsewhere. It probably swept off more than half of the 
population. For sixteen years afterwards we have no records of 
civic affairs such as Richard Spynk's book had begun to give us. 

In the year 1365 we come to the first existing records of the 
meetings of the Municipal Assembly. In this respect Norwich has 
not been fortunate, but although these are of a comparatively late 
period there is no reason to suppose that any material changes 
had taken place for a long time before. This first existing relic 
consists of ten membranes fastened together, containing the 
proceedings from 14 September, 1365, to 16 September, 1369.1 
We are here concerned only with such information as may be 
gathered from them in regard to the constitution or action of the 
governing body of the city. 

We note then first that the description of the ordinary meetings 
is slightly varied, but apparently without denoting any real differ- 
ence of character. Sometimes they are simply described as 
" Congregatio ; " sometimes as " Congregatio communitatis," or 
" Congregatio civitatis ; " the full title which occurs chiefly in the 
earlier entries being "Congregatio communitatis civitatis." The 
term "Communis Congregatio'' occurs once in this first series of rolls 
(in 1369) but it is frequent in those that follow. On all these 
occasions the proceedings are so similar that it seems impossible 
to doubt that the variation of title is due mainly to the caprice 
of the scribe for the time being. 

The main point to be observed is that in theory the " com- 
munitas " is still the sole recognised source of authority for 
deliberation, legislation, or government. If the Bailiffs to some 
extent stand apart by themselves it is simply as a necessary 
personal executive. Neither they nor any body of 24 are as yet 
in any sense a separate estate. 

Besides the ordinary meetings thus variously described we find 
once a year a special meeting which on the first two occasions^ 
is not described by any distinctive title at all, but on most other 
occasions is called " Magna congregatio civitatis." ' It is the 
meeting at which the Bailiffs for the ensuing year are elected, 

1 Nos. CLVIII. to CLXXIX. 2 Nos. CLVIII. and CLXVII. 

3 Nos. CLXXIV., CLXXIX., etc. 

xlvi. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

and it is iieid in the Chapel of the College of S'- Mary in the 
Fields. That a " Great Assembly " was expected to be on a 
larger scale than an ordinary meeting is implied by its name, 
but it does not follow that it was open to a more extended 
constituency. This was plainly not the case. Thus, in 1365 the 
election of Bailiffs is recorded without a heading, and then follows 
a " Congregation communitatis civitatis " on the same day. The 
same term is also used of the succeeding ordinary meetings in 
that official year. At the next election of Bailiffs on September 
13*. 1366, the very same title is used of that special meeting. The 
word "magna" is first used at the election on September 12'h, 
1367. It is plain, therefore, that all the meetings alike were open 
to the " community," and we shall see that the evidence is against 
any restriction or exclusion even at ordinary meetings prior to 
the civic reconstruction which commenced in 1404. A " Great 
Assembly " was, no doubt, so called because it was summoned 
by a more public proclamation, and because attendance was a 
matter of universal obligation as required by the important 
character of the proceedings. 

7. Twenty-Four Electors of Bailiffs. 

Our first record of such an assembly commences thus^ : 
" Election of Bailiffs at Norwich in the 39'h year of the reign 
of King Edward the third from the conquest on Sunday on the 
feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross [14 September, 1365]." 
Then follows this heading, " Nomina iiij°' \sic'\ electorum vz. de 
qualibet leta," and then are entered 24 names, six for each leet. 
The first name in each set is written larger, perhaps because, 
as was not unusual in elections in later times, only one person 
was publicly elected in each case, and he then nominated five 
others to act with himself Or, perhaps, " iiij°' " is an error for 
" xxiiij°"^ " which occurs on the other similar occasions in these 
rolls. After the names of the 24, who are marked as sworn, 
follows " Ballivi electi per supradictos juratos pro anno futuro." 
A Bailiff is assigned to each leet, leading to the supposition that 
each set of six chose its bailiff for its own leet. We read, 
however, in 1369' " The said 24 gave answer concerning the 
election as appears below, etc." When once elected, all the four 
Bailiffs as one body belonged to the whole city. 

1 No. CLIX. 2 No. CLVIII. « No. CLXXIX. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xlvii. 

How the election of the electors took place we are nowhere 
told. If we are right in our interpretation of the term " Great 
Assembly" we must suppose that their election was not 
distributed over several days (each leet coming on a separate 
day) as was the case with the election of Common Councillors 
at a later time, but that the citizens met early in the morning, 
those of each leet in a separate body, and by acclamation 
approved some name or names suggested to them. Or each 
leet may have been called separately into the chapel for the 
purpose. When the 24 were elected they would go apart to 
choose the four Bailiffs, and their combined answer would be 
brought to the then sitting Bailiffs in the chapel who would 
announce the result to the citizens there assembled. The crowd 
would then disperse, and those who remained would proceed to 
business, generally the admission of new citizens. The new 
Bailiffs did not enter on their office till Michaelmas, and their 
"Prima Congregatio" in these first rolls was not till October or 
even November. 

From the account of the 24 and their action in 1365 we 
should naturally conclude that they were the successors of the 
bodies of 24 mentioned in 1344 to 1347. Yet we observe that 
although the Bailiffs in 1365 are said to be elected " for the 
ensuing year," that is not said of the 24. And in the other 
four years contained in this series they are thus described in 
almost identical words, " The names of 24 citizens sworn to elect 
four Bailiffs for the ensuing year." This in itself raises a doubt 
whether these " electors '' could be intended to serve the same 
purpose as the sets of 24 appointed in 1344 to 1347 to undertake 
a general superintendence of civic business for a year, or whether 
they were not chosen solely for the purpose mentioned. There 
is one piece of evidence available which seems to show that the 
"electors" as a body had no special connection with the Assembly 
during the year of oiifice of the Bailiffs whom they elected. On 
September 14* 1366, the names of 24 electors are entered. On 
the following January 12'h a disputed question arose in the 
Assembly and a formal decision on the subject was declared by 
the Bailiffs to the citizens then newly admitted. To emphasize 
the decision the names of all those present were entered ^ (" in 
eadem congregatione extiterunt "). There were 25 citizens present 

1 No. CLXIX. compared with No. CLXVII. 

xlviii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

besides the four Bailififs. Among these 25 occur the names of 
only five (or possibly six) of the electors of the previous September. 
It appears therefore that these 24 "electors " were neither a body 
of administrators for the year nor a select body specially bound 
to attend assemblies. Again, although in Chapters 46 and 47 of 
the Custumal the "24" are mentioned, yet in Chapter 50 the 
election of Bailiffs is attributed to " the appointed electors." 

8. A Standing Committee of Twenty-Four in the Assembly. 

In the year 1369 we come to an important Resolution of the 
Assembly which, though adding somewhat to our knowledge of 
the " 24," is by no means free from obscurity. It occurs within 
the period of the first set of Assembly Rolls just commented on, 
and the actual assembly is mentioned,^ but strangely enough the 
resolution is not entered in its place. It is quoted by Blomefield 
(in. 96) from the Book of Customs, and he puts it as though 
it was then agreed that a body of 24 should be chosen " by the 
bon-gents or commons of the city as common council to represent 
themselves in all assemblies." Hitherto it has been impossible 
to test this statement. Now that the long-lost book has been 
recovered we may do so, and it must be said that it scarcely 
bears out Blomefield's interpretation. It runs as follows^: "Firstly, 
at the Common Assembly held the Friday in the week of Pentecost 
in the 43"^ year of our lord the King^ [Edward III.] it was accorded 
by the whole Community that the election of the Bailiffs should be 
made duly from year to year by the advice of the bon-gents and 
the better of the crafts of the said city.* Also that the 24 for the 
assemblies' for the whole year should be chosen in the same manner. 
Also that the Treasurers should be chosen in the same manner, and 
that they render their account, etc." There is nothing here about a 
" Common-Council to represent '' the other citizens. And Blome- 
field has omitted the mention of " the better of the crafts." 

It must be admitted that it is not easy to see what was being 
done. Apparently some change of procedure in the matter of the 
election of the Bailiffs and Twenty- Four was contemplated. But 


2 Book of Customs, fol. 65 dors. The original is in French. The contemporary 
Assembly Rolls are in Latin. 

" 25 May, 1369, not 1368 as in Blomefield. 

•• Par lavys des bones gentz et les melliours de mesters de la dite citee. 

^ Les xxiiij°' pur les assemblez. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xHx. 

what was its nature? Who are the bons-gents? Blomefield 
suggests " the commons." But it generally is equivalent to " probi 
homines," the leading citizens. This would correspond to " the 
better," or leading members, of the crafts. But how was the 
election to be conducted "by their advice"? On i6 September 
following the " Great Assembly for electing Bailiffs " was held and 
was conducted by the 24 electors just as usual. 1 Can it be that 
the resolution never took effect, and for that reason was not 
entered in the proceedings of the Assembly ? Was it an endeavour 
to restrict the elective franchise to a more limited number, as had 
been done in London 20 years before?'' If so, it was anticipating 
the controversy of the next generation in a different form. 

9. Of greater interest is the name here given to the Twenty- 
Four, " the 24 for the Assemblies." This must imply the previous 
existence of such a body. Whether it was the same as the 24 
of 1344 to 1347, which had in the interval had this duty laid upon 
them, or a distinct body it is impossible, without more evidence, 
to decide. However that may be, we have evidence very shortly 
after this date of the existence of a body of 24 specially bound to 
attend assemblies. 

After the first set of Assembly Rolls (1365 to 1369) there are 
preserved 6 separate Rolls between 1372 and 1385. They almost 
all cover one civic year beginning with a "prima congregatio," 
usually in October. On 7 October, 1372" we have an entry to the 
following effect, " Also it is ordained that if any of the 24 elected 
citizens absent himself- from every or any [qualibet vel. aliqua] 
common assembly without reasonable cause, so that he excuse 
himself by his attorney during the assembly only, he shall be 
amerced 2s. And if any of the craftsmen so elected to be present 
at every [cuilibet] assembly shall have absented himself as above 
he shall be amerced I2d. And that half of such amercements be 
to the Bailiffs and half to the Community." The mention of 
elected craftsmen is curious. Perhaps "any" rather than "every" 
assembly was intended. In accordance with chapter 47 of the 
Custumal craftsmen were to be elected to assist in auditing the 
accounts, and we have an instance of this in No. CLXXXllI. 
(10 June, 1373). But there is no other evidence of any number 
of them being elected to attend all assemblies. 

On 19 October, 1379,* we find "It is agreed that the ancient 

' No. CLXIX 2 Norton Commentaries, etc., p. 115. '^ No. CLXXX. 



1. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

penalty used for default at an assembly be levied from every one 
henceforth making default without reasonable cause." It will be 
noted that both these entries occur in connection with a " Prima 
Congregatio." It may have been a fornial notice proclaimed at 
the commencement of each municipal year. 

lo. Although these " 24 for the assemblies " are not actually 
mentioned by name in the meetings of the Assembly there can 
be little doubt that we can more than once detect their presence. 
Thus we take the Roll for the civic year which commenced at 
Michaelmas, 1377. The first entry is of the " Prima Congregatio '' 
held on Friday after Michaelmas, I Richard II. (2 October, 1377). 
Then follow the names of certain persons present in this form, 
" William Asger, Henry Skye, William de Sporle .... and 
others of the community being present.'' The number of persons 
specially entered is 15. Two of them are newly-elected Bailiffs 
on which an observation will be made presently. On December 9* 
was held an assembly at which were present the four Bailiffs, 17 
citizens specially named and " others of the community." On 
December 15* the four Bailiffs were present and six citizens 
named, but "others of the community" is omitted. On January 
4* 1378, were present the four Bailiffs, 14 citizens named with 
two added afterwards and "others of the community." On 
January 7«i were present the four Bailiffs,' 13 persons named with 
one added and '' others, etc." The Roll stops soon after this and 
no more attendances are recorded. Here we have five records of 
the attendances of citizens whose names for some reason are 
specially entered, besides the mention of others who are present 
without being specially named. If now we make out a list of 
those named we find that to the 15 present on October a""" must 
be added 11 fresh names for December 9'^, but after that only 
one other on January 4'h. The rest are all the same names 
repeated. This makes 27 names. But if these are the names of 
the 24, those of the two Bailiffs entered on October a""" must 
not be counted, for they would be replaced by two others. We 
therefore have 25 persons whose attendances are personally recorded, 
and it is scarcely to be called conjecture to assume that these are 
the " 24 '' specially responsible for being present. We may even 
discover in making out the list that the names of attendants at 
successive meetings are mostly entered in the same comparative 
order, being evidently checked from the original list. The one 
extra person will cause no difficulty. It was not unusual in such 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. li. 

elections to choose some, in excess of the number required, to 
serve " in default of others." Or, if one of the original number 
died or was sent away on business another might be chosen. 

A similar opportunity of obtaining information on this point 
is afforded by the Roll for the year commencing at Michaelmas, 
1379- Five sets of attendances are recorded between October and 
July. The total number of separate persons named is exactly 24. 
The expression " and others of the community " is always added. 
Out of these 24, only four are not among the 25 of two years previous, 
and two of these four are the two who were entered amongst the 
others on October 2"'*, 1377, though at the time they were Bailiffs. 
Practically, therefore, the 24 though elected annually became almost 
a permanent body. 

II. From a consideration of the facts we have been considering 
we shall conclude that one main duty of the 24 was to form a 
quorum to ensure the due execution of public business, but also 
that they were not '' representatives " to the exclusion of others. 
The "others of the community'' described as present could not be 
elected craftsmen or their names would be given. It must mean 
that the rest of the community were not excluded because some 
were bound to come. Any of the others might come if they wished 
to do so and, so far as the records show, they had an equal voice 
with the 24 in the deliberations and decisions. 

The Resolution^ also mentions something of their administrative 
functions apart from the Assembly. Complaints had been made 
that " tallages, mises and common land " had been granted and the 
common seal attached to the grant by the 24 or the greater part 
of them " to the great disherison and oppression of the common 
people." It was agreed, therefore, that no such grants should 
henceforth be made except "by the grant of the 24 and the better 
of the crafts " as " is contained in the charter of our lord the King 
and his progenitors^ and also in the book of customs (la liuere des 
usages)." Blomefield here takes " les meillours de mesters " to 
mean "the chief of the commons." His further statement that 
" no business of consequence shall be transacted without them and 
all business concerning the city shall be born at the city charge " 
is, in the original Resolution, " It was agreed by the whole Com- 
munity that all great needs which touch the Community or which 
shall be done at the cost of the said Community, shall be done 
by the assent of the bon-gents and the better of the crafts." 

1 p. xlviii. 2 Perhaps the Charter of Edward I. (1305). No. X., p. 20. 

Hi, Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

With regard to this administrative authority of the 24 it is 
to be observed that we never find in the Assembly Rolls of this 
period any important business referred to the 24 as a body. Even 
in such a matter as consulting with the citizens appointed to go 
to Parliament 13 persons are elected^ at the time to discuss with 
them the interests of the community. Doubtless on all such 
"committees'' the names of the 24 constantly occur, but they are 
specially chosen in full assembly as individuals and in conjunction 
with others who are not of the 24. 

12. A chartered body of Twenty-Four. 

We may now leave the Assembly Rolls and consider a select 
body of 24, which we may or may not decide to be identical with 
one or another of those we have already had under review, but 
which was destined from this time to play a leading part in the 
municipal history of the city. 

With the accession of King Richard II. in 1377, an entirely 
new municipal era may be said to have commenced in Norwich. 
To appreciate its significance we may consider certain changes 
which had taken place since the new departure in the time of 
Richard Spynk some 30 years before. 

In reviewing the municipal constitution of the city at the 
close of the 13* century^ we noted the existence of a well-marked 
leading class of citizens upon whom, though we could not find 
that they held any recognised official position, fell the burden of 
carrying on the administration of the city and the risk of being 
held personally responsible for the satisfaction of any demands, 
penalties or exactions laid upon the city by the Crown. As the 
14'h century advanced not only did the municipal and commercial 
business of the city become constantly more complicated, but the 
maintenance of internal order and discipline became more difficult. 
The sole authority on all matters continued to be the "communitas" 
which expressed its will through an ill-defined Assembly or main- 
tained discipline and punished offences through the very inefficient 
medium of the annual Leet Courts. This vague kind of constitution 
lingered in Norwich to an unusually late date, perhaps because 
of its comparative isolation from the vortex of national affairs. 
But the want of more definite authority must have long been felt. 
We have seen that no slight advance had been made in the 

' No. CLXXXIV. 2 See ante, pp. xxxvi. to xxxviii. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. liii. 

earlier years of the reign of Edward III.; but it was nominally 
made in the direction of strengthening the " citizens," meaning, in 
that case, the whole community in their hold on the city as against 
outsiders. How far Richard Spynk and his fellow leading citizens 
endeavoured to turn it to their own advantage at that time it is 
impossible to say. Whatever their aim may have been it was 
checked for at least a generation by the Black Death. When, at 
the time of which we are now speaking, we find a ruling class 
acting with what we may call a definite policy we see at once that 
that policy has been influenced and its attainment brought much 
more within reach by the momentous course of events outside. It 
is only needful to briefly draw attention to them. 

Apart from the Black Death two tendencies had been at work 
which would emphasize the right of the most substantial citizens 
to rule. One was the increase of capital accumulating in the hands 
of a few. The other was the substitution of a permanent magistracy 
in the country districts for police purposes in place of the old 
communal courts. Our subsidy and other account rolls give 
evidence^ that the first tendency had been at work in Norwich. 
If the second had not yet found official recognition there it must 
at least have been an object of desire to those who would rightly 
have the working of it. This latter tendency was greatly 
accentuated by the legislation which followed the Black Death. 
The labour and other social laws then ordained required a personal 
magistracy of the upper classes to carry them out. Although this 
authority was not formally granted to Norwich till 1404, the 
" Communitas " in its Assembly seems to have assumed the right 
to confer it on its Bailiffs a generation before that time." 

But what was probably the most active influence in urging 
the leading citizens of Norwich to seek for more direct authority 
was the example and experience of the City of London When 
two of their number returned from the Parliament held in 
28 Edward III. (1354)^ they would bring intelligence of a stringent 
Act which was then passed dealing with the misgovernment of 
the City of London, laying upon the citizens a penalty of 1,000 
marks for the first default of due remedy, 2,000 for the second, 
and forfeiture of liberties for the third. Enquiry as to the alleged 

1 As will be shown in Vol. II. 

2 A " Warrantum de Pace " was granted to the Bailiffs on their entrance on office. 
Assembly Roll 1377, 2 October ; 1379, September 23 ; 1382, September 25. See Nos. 

liv. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

misgovernment was to be made by inquisitions taken from the 
adjoining counties. This ordinance was to extend to all cities and 
boroughs of the realm, the penalties to be adjudged at the 
discretion of the Justices thereto assigned. This very statute was 
appealed to with fatal effect lOO years later against the citizens 
of Norwich by their enemies.^ 

13. In the first year of Richard II. (26 February, 1378), a 
Charter" was obtained which confirmed all the previous Charters 
from that of Richard I. downwards, adding in the King's own 
name the clause already appearing in the Charter of 33 Edward I., 
that non-user of any liberty should not be a bar to its revived 

Just before the receipt of this Charter, on i February, 1378, the 
citizens had obtained from the King an exemplification of his last 
Charter to the citizens of London dated 4 December, 1377. This 
was a Charter of Confirmation reciting by Inspeximus a great 
many earlier Charters, including that of 15 Edward III., by which 
authority was vested in " the Mayor and Aldermen with the assent 
of the Commonalty" to provide a remedy where any custom 
hitherto used proved to be defective.^ The " citizens " of Norwich 
now petitioned the King to grant them this liberty.* The language 
of this petition is well worthy of notice. They had been used, they 
say, to remedy defaults newly arising by making new ordinances 
amongst themselves for the common profit of all. Of late, however, 
many of the commonalty had been "very contrarious,'' and would 
continue to be so unless some remedy should be found. Their 
petition is that the " four Bailiffs and 24 citizens chosen each year by 
the community of the town " might have power to make and 
establish such ordinances and remedies for good government as 
might seem good to them, and to correct and mend them when 
necessary. They pray that this article and another relating to trade 
may be added to those granted in the King's first Parliament. The 
article, as asked for, was granted, in the words of the petition, 
by another Charter,^ which recites the whole of the Charter of 

1 See Nos. CCLXXXVIII. and XLVI. 2 No. XV. 

8 Lib. Cust. Land., p. 443. 

^ Ancient Petition 892, No. XXXVIII. In the " Answer, etc." (No. XL. 3) the 
24 deny that they knew of any such grant to London. Yet the petition is in substance 
the same as in the London Charter of 4 Dec, 1377, and the clause in the Norwich 
Charter of 1380 granting the petition is almost verbally identical with that of London. 

5 No. XVI. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Iv. 

Confirmation granted two years before, and then in the King's name 
adds the two articles for which petition had been made. This 
Charter is dated 12 February, 1380. 

The power which had been granted to the citizens of London 
seems to be understood as implying no more than the "ancient 
custom of the city to make bye-laws." ' But plainly the " citizens " 
of Norwich who asked for it had a very definite intention as to its 
use. We notice that, whoever these petitioners may be, they make 
a sharp distinction between themselves and a mass of the " com- 
monalty who are contrarious." Further they place themselves in 
the position occupied by the Aldermen of London, their four 
BailifTs corresponding to the Mayor. And, lastly, they obtain an 
important alteration in the condition on which the desired authority 
was to be exercised. Whereas the London Charter had granted the 
power to "the Mayor and Aldermen with assent of the Commonalty," 
the Norwich Charter grants it to "the Bailiffs with assent of the 
24 citizens elected by the Community." It is plain that the persons 
who here petition the King as his " humble lieges the citizens of 
Norwich " were solely the upper class from whom the Bailiffs and 
24 were taken. Assuming that we are dealing with the " 24 " who 
sat in the Assembly, they now seem to be seeking to draw away 
into their own hands authority which they had hitherto shared with 
the whole community in the assembly. This hypothesis seems to 
explain how the "contrarious" conduct of the commonalty could 
hinder the good intentions of their proper leaders, viz., by packing 
the assembly. By thus dissociating themselves from the Assembly 
as the basis of their governing authority, the ruling class took a 
great step towards becoming a separate estate. 

14 This ulterior purpose will appear more clearly if we 
consider here (by anticipation) an account of the origin and intention 
of this grant given in the next generation by the then 24 citizens.'^ 
After the substitution of a Mayor and two Sherififs in place of the 
four Bailiffs in 1404 great disputes arose as to the mode of electing 
the new officials. The Mayor, Sheriffs, and 24 claimed the right for 
themselves, and appealed^ amongst other things, to this particular 
grant. The " Commonalty " (clearly the mass of the citizens apart 
from the " men of estate ") affirmed that the grant had been procured 

^ Norton Commentaries, etc., p. 365. Birch Charters, etc., pp. xxviii. and 70, calls 
the grant that of "legislation by Act of Common Council." Coke Inst. IV. 257, 
strangely says of the Norwich grant, " We have not found the like in any other city." 

^ See the two documents drawn up in 1414 and marked Nos. XXXIX. and XL. 

Ivi. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

privily without their assent and knowledge.^ In reply the 24 make 
this statement.^ Up to that time, they said, if any emergency arose, 
such as the sudden coming of a grandee of the Realm, they could 
not make needful arrangements unless the Bailiffs and everyone of 
the 24 were present together. If even one or two were absent they 
must wait for them. " Whereupon the more sufificient persons of 
estate in the said city, that is to say, Bartholomew Appleyard and 
others, with the assent of the Bailiffs and 24 aforesaid, and of the 
substance of the Commonalty of the said city, seeing the mischiefs 
. . sent Henry Lomynour and Walter Bixton then their 
concitizens to sue to the said late King to have confirmation of their 
charter of franchises to them aforegranted and to have as a new 
grant the aforesaid article, to the intent that the said Bailiffs with 
the assent of the said 24 or of the greater part of the said 24, not 
awaiting the presence of others absent, might have power to ordain 
convenient remedy,'' etc. In confirmation of this statement we find 
in the Assembly Rolls that on 15 December, 1377," the Assembly 
chose Bartholomew Appleyard and Walter Bixton to "go to London 
to sue for the confirmation of our charter and for other business 
touching the community at the cost of the community." Apparently 
they did not go at once, for on 4 January, 1378, the Treasurer was 
ordered to meet the expenses of Walter de Bixton and his fellows. 
On January 7"^ Walter de Bixton and Henry Lomynour were chosen 
to "go to London to sue for the confirmation of our charter of 
liberties and for an increase of liberties." It was ordered that 
twenty citizens should pay 40i'. each to the Treasurer who should 
pay the ;£^40 to the two delegates. This last mUst'be the occasion 
referred to by the 24 in 1414. It is curious to compare their 
description of the authority which sent Bixton and Lomynour to 
the King with what we find recorded in the Assembly Roll. There 
were present the four Bailiffs, thirteen named citizens whom we 
have supposed to be members of the 24,* and others of the 
community. One more named citizen is added in the margin. The 
respondents in 1414 seem to attribute their initiative to the men 
of estate outside the Assembly who went to the Assembly to obtain 
the "assent" of that body before carrying out their wish. It is 
significant also that the alleged restriction requiring all the 24 to 
be present on occasions such as those mentioned does not seem to 

1 No. XXXIX. 2. a No. XL. 2. a No. CLXXXV. 

^ Bartholomew Appleyard is one of the thirteen, and so also is Henry Lomynour. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Ivii. 

have applied to the 24 of the elected " quorum " in the Assemblies. 
On December 9th, previous to this assembly, forty marks had been 
granted by the " Communitas " in an assembly to be given to the 
Duke of Lancaster if he should come. Seventeen named citizens were 
then present besides " others of the community." Presumably the 
Assembly had been summoned for the purpose, for nothing else was 
done. This would surely be the natural course to take instead of 
trying to get every one of 24 special persons together in a hurry. 
The complaint about the restriction must imply that one or another 
might be ill or absent and unable to attend. We can hardly suppose 
that Bartholomew Appleyard and the other persons of estate 
formed another body of 24 outside the Assembly and bound by this 
restriction. It is plain that they needed the sanction of the 
Assembly to carry out their plan of increasing their powers, and that 
having obtained that sanction they used it to their own advantage 
as against the "commonalty." Their petition makes no mention 
of the restriction, which could only have been a very rare hindrance. 
It asks for general powers of administration, and the omission of 
the words " by assent of the commonalty " shows without doubt 
what was their real design. The municipal Assembly could not 
be dissociated from the Commonalty. So they desired adminis- 
trative powers with which the Assembly could not interfere. 

15. For the time, however, all this was hidden from the 
Commonalty. To all appearance things went on as before in the 
Assembly. The rolls for three years between 1381 and 1386 are 
preserved, and they correspond in all respects with those we have 
reviewed before the grant was made. No mention is made of any 
independent action on the part of the 24. On occasions the names 
of certain persons present are recorded, and so also is the presence 
of 'others." Important business of all kinds is still committed to 
persons specially appointed at the time. 

Nearly the whole of this reign was taken up with an extensive 
re-organisation of the city trade, as set forth in the City Domesday 
Book compiled towards the end of it (between 1394 and 1397).^ 
Blomefield^ connects this re-organisation immediately with the 
powers obtained through the petition of 1378. But this must be an 
error. The Charter which followed the petition was not dated till 
February, 1380, whereas the warrant, by virtue of which the trade 
revolution was effected, is dated 27 Nov., 1378.'* Moreover, the 

1 ehamberlains' Rolls, 18-19, and 21-22, R. II. ^ HI., p 103. 

8 Norwich City Domesday Book, fol. 23. 

Iviii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

warrant was granted not by the King but by the Assembly, and 
the powers of execution were not made in favour of the 24, but 
were granted to sixteen citizens specially named. The great object 
in view was to stifle and prohibit private trade^ in certain goods, and 
draw it all to stathes and stalls belonging to the commonalty, thus 
largely increasing the municipal income at the expense of private 
persons. Still, inasmuch as municipal control was rapidly falling 
into the hands of the leading class, this centralisation and 
municipalisation of trade indirectly added to their power. 

One sign of the times must not be passed over. When 
Henry IV. 's Charter in 1404 altered the whole constitution of the 
city, it is distinctly stated that the official title of the constitution 
which was superseded was "The Bailiffs, Citizens and Commonalty." 
The word " Citizens " was retained in the title of the new corporation, 
and evidence will be given to show that it there represented the 
prudhommes from whom the " 24 Citizens " were taken, and after- 
wards the 24 "Aldermen" who were their successors. If this view 
is accepted it would follow that the compilers of Henry's Charter 
recognised the 24 citizens as being even before that Charter in some 
sense a distinct official body from the rest of the Community. The 
only sense in which such a position could be accorded to them 
was that of a Council of Assistants to the Bailiffs, forming with 
them an administrative body having an authority outside that 
of the communal Assembly, conferred upon them by the Charter 
of 1380. This view of the case was not yet realised by the 
commonalty who still elected them as a mere portion of the 

That an important revolution in the government of the city 
had already commenced will appear from a consideration of the 
great changes next to be recorded. 

V. — The City made into a County: a permanent Magistracy 
with a representative Common Council, 1404 — 

I. County Organisation. New Municipal Constitution, 1404 — 

For information as to the events which immediately preceded 

' Part of the petition was for power to prohibit strangers from carrying on retail 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. lix. 

the important civic cbanges of 1404 we have to rely almost entirely 
upon Blomefield's History. Our Assembly Rolls fail us from 1386 
to 141 3. Blomefield, however, quotes several which were surviving 
in his day. His first reference to the matter is an interesting one 
under the year 1398.^ The King (Richard H.), he says, was 
expected in Norwich. A tax, therefore, was laid to make him a 
suitable present, and it was ordered that all citizens according to 
their rank should arrange to meet him with due honour. Upon 
this, he observes "There were elected as adjutants to thfe Bailiffs 
to manage the procession Robert Dunston, Richard Baas and 
Thomas Fyncham for the court and three others for the commons ; 
and this is the first distinction that I find made between the court 
and the commons, which is not to be wondered at, it appearing 
that they now designed to make a push for a Mayor, etc., and the 
present was designed to oblige the King in order to obtain their 
request" By the "court'' here can only be meant either the 
Twenty-Four or the men of substantial estate. At a later time 
the word was used of the Aldermen as a magisterial body, so it 
is prolaably intended here for the Twenty-Four in their capacity 
of an administrative body under the powers of the Charter of 1380.^ 

On the following "New Year's Day"" 16 citizens and two 
Bailiffs were chosen by the Assembly to consider of the manner 
and way to apply for a Mayor "for the state of the city." But 
the King did not come, and their friend at court, the Duke of 
Lancaster, died soon after. According to Blomefield the citizens 
looked upon King Richard as having refused to grant their request, 
and thereupon they openly espoused the cause of Henry, the late 
Duke's son. They wrote to him and sent up their Bailiffs, 
nominally to answer a charge of illegal arrest, but in reality to 
confer with Henry. In return for their support he promised to 
assist them in getting their desired charter, and this promise he 
fulfilled shortly afterwards when he became King Henry IV. 

In the first year of his reign (5 February, 1400), he granted the 
citizens a Charter of Confirmation* reciting by Inspeximus the 
Charter of 3 Richard II. with all its included charters. A delay 

1 Hist. Nor/. III. 114. 

2 Can Blomefield really have seen the word used at this time for a select governing 

3 That is January 1st. See Norf. Arch. XV. 144, where John Boys in his journal, 
after mentioning a Saturday, 1428, as Christmas Day, calls the following Saturday "new 
yereday." ■■ No. XVII. 

Ix. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

of two years and more took place before they could proceed with 
their further purpose. Blomefield^ attributes this to opposition on 
the part of Henry Spencer Bishop of Norwich, who had relieved 
the city from a great peril by crushing Litester's rebellion in 1381. 
Since then he had been suspected of treason against Henry and 
the city had sided against him. He justified himself to the King 
and took his revenge on the citizens by opposing their wishes. At 
length, in the course of the year 1402, they succeeded in making their 
way so smooth at court, especially by lending the King lOOO marks, 
" that it was signified to them that they might frame a charter 
as large and ample as they could devise and it should be passed, 
upon which it was resolved in assembly that the bailiffs and citizens 
should take the best advice they could in drawing the charter at 
the common expense, and then William de Crakeford, Robert Baas 
and John Clerk were sent backward and forward to and from 
London concerning it, etc.'' This statement that the citizens drew 
the charter for themselves is interesting. No doubt they took 
advice as to the scope and limits of their requests and a certain 
amount of common form was introduced by the official clerks. 
But the special details were their own. We shall see this even 
more clearly in the case of the supplementary and explanatory 
Charter of King Henry V. in 1417. 

2. Charter of King Henry IV. Substitution of a Mayor 
and two Sheriffs for the four Bailiffs. 

The Charter is dated 28 January 5 Hen. IV. (1404). It marks 
an epoch in the municipal history of Norwich such as had not 
occurred since the Charter of Richard I. in 1 194. It did not, indeed, 
effect a revolution all at once. The change of government which 
it inaugurated did not settle into a definite form till 141 5 and, 
in some important ways, it did not fall into its permanent shape 
till past the middle of the century. But it formed the first step in 
the development by which the citizens of Norwich passed from the 
condition of a self-governing community, each member of which 
had theoretically an equal voice in the government and adminis- 
tration, into that of a community under the control of a (practically) 
permanent magistracy combined for legislative purposes with a 
liniited number of elected representatives. 

The Charter'' begins by granting that the City of Norwich 

1 Hist. III. 118. 2 No XVIII. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Ixi. 

shall in future be separated from the County of Norfolk and be 
called the County of the City of Norwich. The " Citizens and 
Commonalty" (under which title the recipients of the grants are 
described throughout the charter) are next empowered to choose 
one of themselves annually as Mayor, which official by virtue of 
his office should be the King's Escheator.i To adapt themselves 
to their county constitution they are to do away with the office 
of the four Bailiffs and in their place to choose two Sheriffs who 
should hold their County Courts and also in conjunction with the 
Mayor exercise the jurisdiction hitherto exercised by the Bailiffs. 
The magisterial authority of the Mayor is emphasized by the right 
to haye a sword carried erect before iiim in the presence of anyone 
except the reigning Sovereign,^ and the sergeants of the Mayor 
and Sheriffs may bear gilt maces adorned with the royal arms. 
Furthermore, the Citizens and Commonalty may, through the 
Mayor and four " Probi Homines," hear and determine all 
complaints, etc., belonging to the office of Justice of the Peace of 
Labourers and Artificers, as the Justices of the Peace in the County 
of Norfolk do. The Charter concludes with the proviso that the 
necessary change of title of the municipal body shall not be to 
the damage of the city. The change is thus described. The 
existing title to be disused is given as " The Bailiffs, Citizens, and 
Commonalty of the City of Norwich." The title to be substituted 
in its place is '' The Mayor, Sheriffs, Citizens, and Commonalty of 
the City of Norwich." 

It is manifest that the powers obtained by this Charter were 
chiefly sought for in order to strengthen the position of the 
governing body. The County constitution, in the acquisition of 
which Norwich had already been preceded by three other towns 
besides London,' would not only still further exclude external 
interference, but would bring with it more extended jurisdiction 
especially in the authority attached to the office of Justice of the 
Peace.* It was supposed also, as we shall see from what subse- 
quently happened, to include an extension of boundaries or, at least, 
of jurisdiction over the surrounding districts. The appointment of 

1 The official who collected the King's dues or forfeits which frequently fell to him. 

2 The King himself gave the City a sword. 

' Bristol 1373, York 1397, Newcastle 1400. London had possessed a County 
organisation since the grant of the County of Middlesex to the citizens by Henry I. 

* The four Justices appointed by the Mayor are described as belonging to the County 
of the City (p. 301, note 3). 

Ixii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

a Mayor would also be desired for the same reason of strengthening 
authority. The office had by this time, through the example of 
London, come to be the embodiment of magisterial authority derived 
from the King, as evidenced by the drawn sword and the maces 
bearing the royal arms. Hitherto the Bailiffs, as chief citizens, had 
exercised an authority delegated to them by the community, 
though that did not prevent their powers from being in actual fact 
as large as they could have been if the headship of the city had 
been vested in a Mayor. 

3. It may seem, perhaps, that this view of the Charter is 
contrary to the terms in which it is expressed. The various 
privileges are conferred on the " Citizens and Commonalty." This 
title needs explanation. But before considering our principal 
evidence on this point, it will be better to relate, as far as we are 
able, how the citizens proceeded to carry out the change. The 
actual sequence of events is not quite correctly given by Blomefield. 

The Charter was dated 28 January, 1404. According to the 
" Mayor's Book " ^ William Appleyard was chosen first Mayor, and 
Robert Brasyer and John Dannard, two of the then Bailiffs, were 
chosen as the first Sheriffs on 1=' March. The contemporary Court 
Roll speaks of the two Sheriffs as holding ofifice from the feast of 
S'- Gregory the Pope (12 March).^ Blomefield'' proceeds to say that 
in the course of this year (1404) a resolution of the Assembly created 
a body of 80 citizens to sit at all common assemblies by themselves, 
and at the annual election of Sheriffs they were to name three per- 
sons of whom the Mayor should choose one and the " probi homines " 
another. He adds that 20 citizens were also chosen to " agree upon 
and settle all the articles and ordinances made by the court, or 
chief men of the city, in relation to the election and oath of the 
Mayor and good government of the city." As Blomefield gives 
correctly the names of the Sheriffs (for Michaelmas, 1404) thus 
chosen, it must be presumed that he is quoting from an Assembly 
Roll, though he gives no reference to it, and none such is now 
existing. The loss of the Assembly Rolls at this time is unfor- 
tunate in regard to the election of the first few Mayors, and also 
the origin of a Common Council. The Assembly referred to 
seems to have had chiefly in view the coming election of Sheriffs. 
These officials, being the special successors of the four Bailiffs 

1 A book compiled in the time of Queen Elizabeth, containing a list of Officials from 
1286, with marginal memoranda. 

'^ See Note A. at the close of this section. ■'' Hist. III., 123. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Ixiii. 

and inheriting their financial obligations to the King, would 
exercise their office as the Bailiffs had done from Michaelmas 
to Michaelmas. The four Bailiffs had been elected on or about 
Holy Cross Day (14* Sept.) by a body of 24 electors representing 
the four Leets of the city. This number was now enlarged to 80, 
but they were made nominators not electors in the election of 
the two Sheriffs.^ At the same time, no doubt in imitation of 
London, they seem to have designed to make these 80 into a 
representative Common Council. They can hardly have intended 
in addition to preserve to every citizen the right to attend assemblies 
if they chose. As to the election of the Mayor, it seems that the 
"court," as Blomefield again calls the chief men of the city, had 
proposed certain ordinances which were to be considered by the 
20 elected citizens. Under the date 1408 Blomefield again refers 
to the action of the "80." In that year he says": "On the third 
Sunday after Easter, on which day the Mayors were then usually 
chosen, according to the custom of the city, the 80 named Roger 
Blickling and Edmund Warner, and notified their nomination by tiie 
coroners and town clerk to the chief men or 24 of the Mayor's 
counsel, and they appointed Edmund Warner Mayor for this 

4. In connection with this statement we must here refer to 
two documents already quoted in regard to the Charter of 1380 
and the powers granted to the Twenty-Four. In working out 
their new constitution the citizens, it seems, were divided into two 
parties, on the one hand the chief men, or " men of estate," ' and 
on the other the " commons." After much controversy they agreed 
soon after 3"^ April, 1414, to submit their differences to the 
arbitration of Sir Thomas Erpingham. Thereupon the " Commons " 
formulated their grievances in a petition headed " The complaints 
on the part of the major part of the Citizens and Commonalty of 
Norwich against those who are called the more venerable citizens 
of the said city." * The reply purports to be the " Answers of the 
Sheriffs and 24 prudhommes of the City of Norwich of old time 
ordained for the good governance thereof and of others as well as 
those who have borne the estate of Mayor, Sheriffs and Bailiffs of 

^ In London at this time, to avoid tumultuous gatherings at elections of Mayor and 
Sheriffs, the Mayor and Aldermen summoned certain persons from each Ward to act as 
nominators. The Commons had claimed the sole election. — Lib. Alb. Land., Ig, 20. 

^ Hist. III., 124. ' They are nowhere called " the court." 

* No. XXXIX. 

Ixiv. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

the said city as other sufficient persons of the Commonalty of the 
said city touching the articles of complaints of certain persons 
of the Commonalty of the aforesaid city, etc." ^ The two state- 
ments, coming from the parties themselves, are of great interest, 
and throw no little light on the political ends which the respon- 
dents had in view. We will notice here only so much as belongs 
to our present subject. 

The Complainants begin by referring to the grant of 1380 already 
commented on. They declare (somewhat strangely) that it was 
procured privily and without assent of the Commonalty, who were not 
aware of it until of late they had a Mayor. They complain further 
that the power to provide remedies, etc., is granted without the 
addition of the words "by the assent of the Commonalty" as in the 
similar grant to the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London. 
Then they complain that, whereas King Henry IV. granted to 
the "citizens and commonalty" to choose a Mayor and two Sheriffs, 
the said " prudhommes called the- men of estate of the city" had 
disturbed the " greater part of the citizens and commonalty " of 
their election. In particular, they charge against them that whereas 
the commonalty in 7 Henry IV. (1406) had chosen William Apple- 
yard for their Mayor the said prudhommes about three weeks before 
the end of the said year,^ forcibly deposed William, and took away 
his sword of office and made Walter Danyel Mayor, and they 
continued the said estate to him through the eighth year. So they 
had done each year since that time. 

In reply to these charges the chief men'' make the statement 
about the procuring of the grant of 1380 referred to above,* and 
whereas the commons had insisted upon the assent of the Com- 
monalty being necessary, the chief men retaliate by beseeching 
Sir Thomas Erpingham to use his influence with the King to amend 
the Charter of his father King Henry I V., and regrant it to the 
"citizens" only so that the word "commonalty might be altogether 
removed, and the complainants might never be parties or privy to 
any governance within the city by force of the said charter." As to 
the election of Mayor they say that whereas the Charter made the 

1 No. XL. 

2 Henry's regnal year ended on Sept. 29th, only one day after the Sheriffs' year. The 
meeting of the prudhommes would therefore be about the same time as the election of 

* They had also sent in their own complaints, which are not preserved. 
■* Introd. IV., 14. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Ixv, 

grant to the " citizens and commonalty," the Commonalty alone 
chose William Appleyard twice and continued him in office for two 
years contrary to .the custom of the city. The Respondents 
therefore desired to conduct the election according to ancient form, 
and in approval of their action William Appleyard had himself 
taken Walter Danyel by the hand and brought him before all the 
prudhommes in the presence of the Commonalty. 

These statements about the election of the Mayor are not easy 
to explain. William Appleyard is entered in the Mayor's book 
as being elected Mayor for the first time in 1403 (that is March, 
1404, n.s.), for the second in 1404, and for a third time in 1405. 
Walter Danyel is assigned to 1406. When was William Appleyard 
twice elected by the Commons alone? If he was re-elected in 1404, 
it could only have been at Michaelmas of that year, the intention 
at that time being to make the Mayoral year correspond with 
that of the Sheriffs In this case his second election by the 
Commons would be at Michaelmas, 1405. This is corroborated 
by the statement of the Respondents that in 1406 Walter Danyel 
was (to carry out their purpose) put into office " a full three weeks 
before the accustomed time." What happened in 1406 seems to 
be this. About 8 September the Commons met and elected 
William Appleyard to be once more Mayor for the next year. 
The prudhommes, however, relying on the Charter of 1 380, elected 
Walter Danyel. They obtained a writ of Dedimus Potestatem 
addressed to the Archdeacon of Norwich, by whom he was at once 
sworn into office. William Appleyard supported his brother 
prudhommes, led his successor to the bench, and sat down with him. 
The sword of office was sent for by the outgoing Mayor and given 
to Walter, and William voluntarily retired from the Mayoralty. 
As he ought to have sat for three weeks longer, the Commons 
represented this as deposing him and taking away his official sword. 
About the election of John Danyel in 1407^ nothing is known. In 
1408, according to Blomefield's precise statement, Edmund Warner 
was one of two nominated by the 80 commoners, and was chosen by 
the Twenty-Four. This seems a peaceable and formal proceeding. 
Yet the Commons complain in 1414 that the prudhommes had 
disturbed them of their election, not only in 1406 but " in each year 
since that time." Perhaps they claimed the election as well as the 

1 Blomefield gives these two names in wrong order. ^ See above, p. Ixiii. n. i. 

Ixvi. Selected Records of the City of No wich. 

Why the day of election should have been changed to the third 
Monday after Easter is not apparent. The change is rather to be 
considered as from Michaelmas to Trinity, the time of the Mayor 
entering on his office.^ A liberal interval of five weeks (or after- 
wards at least three or four) was allowed for the newly-elect to 
arrange his affairs.^ Almost immediately after this, in 141 5, the 
election was fixed to take place on i May, and so it continued 
till 1835. 

A more important question arises out of these two documents. 
Do they help to explain the term " Citizens and Commonalty " as 
used in King Henry's Charter .' We have already' seen reason to 
think that by the word " citizens " in the charter was meant the 
leading or ruling class, called in these documents " men of estate." 
This view is clearly corroborated here, for it is evident that the 
Respondents in this dispute understood the word as specially applying 
to themselves. They wanted the word " Commonalty " removed 
from the charter so that the government of the city might remain 
in the hands of the " Citizens," i.e., in their own hands under the charter 
of 1380. It is not quite clear, however, in what way they intended 
to exercise their rule, whether through the Assembly or not. The 
evidence would seem to show that they wanted to over-ride the 
Assembly. When they say that Appleyard was twice elected Mayor 
by the "Commonalty alone" they must be speaking of a "Great 
Assembly" such as had chosen the electors of the Bailiffs. They 
speak also of a " treaty and accord sealed with the common seal " 
(evidently done in an Assembly) as being the work of the Com- 
plainants without the assent of the Respondents. On the other 
hand, their own election of Walter Danyel was plainly not made 
in the Assembly. It would appear, therefore, that they were 
claiming a magisterial authority outside the deliberative Assembly, 
and that they rested their claim on the word " Cives " as describing 
themselves apart from the rest of the " Communitas." * 

5. Establishment of a Common Council. 

On 20 March, 1413, King Henry IV. died. The first few years 
of the reign of Henry V. proved to be of great importance in the 

1 See extract from Court Roll of 3 H.V. (1415) in note A at the close of this section, 
and also No. CCXLVI. (1424). 

2 The contemporary Mayor of London had only a space of a fortnight, from St. 
Edward's Day, 13 October, to St. Simon and St. Jude, 28 October, Lib. Alb. 
Land., p. 31. « Introd. IV., 15. 

* See further Note B at the end of this Section. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Ixvii. 

city's municipal development. An Assembly Roll for the year 
commencing Michaelmas, 141 3, has survived, and contains matter of 
the greatest interest which Blomefield has altogether passed over. 
On 22 December, at a Great Assembly^ held in the Gildhall, it was 
agreed that the Mayor and Sheriffs and the 24 should choose four 
" probi homines," and the commonalty should choose four more for 
the. election of Mayor and Sheriffs. This could not have referred to 
any approaching election, at least of Sheriffs, for they were always 
chosen shortly before Michaelmas. On 5 February following (14 14) 
another Great Assembly^ was held, at which the names of those 
present are recorded. First come the Mayor and the two Sheriffs, 
and then 14 names followed by a gap of one line. Presumably 
these were members of the 24. Then follow 156 names without any 
explanation. We may suppose that these were citizens of both 
parties. An ordinance in several sections was then passed : — 
(i) The Mayor with his council on every third Monday after Easter 
at the Gildhall should choose one of the " more sufficient of the 
commonalty " from each leet, or four from the four leets. These 
four should be sworn to choose 80 persons of the " more sufficient of 
the commonalty," or 20 from each leet including themselves. Then 
the 80 were to choose two persons who had served as Mayor, Sheriff, 
or Bailiff, and present them in a separate room to the Mayor, 
Sheriffs, and 24 probi homines, who should then elect one to be 
Mayor. (2) On Monday after the Feast of the Nativity of the 
Blessed Mary (September 8*), the Mayor, Sheriffs and 24 should 
choose one sufficient person, and the 80 another to serve as Sheriffs 
for the ensuing year. (3) A common assembly should contain 
the Mayor, Sheriffs, the 24, the Coroners, Supervisors, Treasurers, 
Clavers, all kinds of Constables, and 80 of the more sufficient 
of the commonalty chosen from the leets as in the election of the 
Mayor. (4) This ordinance should be engrossed under the common 
seal and the seal of the office of Mayor. (5) The 80 on the day of 
the election of the Mayor should choose 24 of those who had been 
Mayors, Sheriffs, or Bailiffs, to be of the Mayor's Council for the 
ensuing year. (6) Eight persons were specially chosen to be present 
and arrange for the making of this ordinance, so that it be enacted, 
etc. Four days later, on 9 February, at another assembly, the 
"ordinance of the aforesaid schedule was sealed with the common 
seal, which was replaced in the Clavers' chest." 

1 No. CXCII. 2 No. CXCIII. 

Ixviii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

We may here note that April j"^"* following these assemblies 
was the day named in the " Complaints " as the day up to which the 
disputes were to be submitted to Sir T. Erpingham.^ The Com- 
plainants there state that in a certain treaty made amongst them 
by certain persons elected upon divers matters the disputed words 
" by assent of the commonalty " had been added " as in a writing^ 
on the said treaty made and engrossed under the common seal and 
the seal of the mayoralty is fully contained." To this the Respon- 
dents reply^ that they know no such accord, and that the 
Complainants had long had by force the guard and governance of 
the seal of the city. The " treaty " may have been quite distinct 
from the ordinance just described ; but no body except the Assembly 
had the custody of the common seal, and, whatever the treaty was, 
the Assembly must have sanctioned its engrossing and sealing. As 
many of the Respondents must have been ex-officio members of 
the Assembly, it seems impossible to justify their reply on 
this point. 

In accordance with the ordinance a Great Assembly* met on the 
next third Monday after Easter (30 April, 1414) and elected a 
Mayor in the form arranged. Instead, however, of 20 persons being 
chosen for each leet, 14 are named for Conesford, 23 for Mancroft, 
29 for Wymer, and 14 for Ultra Aquam. 

6. The Composition of 141 5. 

By the foregoing resolutions a considerable approach had been 
made towards the formation of a representative Assembly. The 
Award of Sir Thomas Erpingham, the terms of which are not 
known, must have given a general approval to the above ordinances. 
On 14 February in the following year (1415) a Composition^ was 
entered into between the disputing parties, of which the original and 
more than one copy are preserved among the city muniments. It 
is an English document in the quaint style of the period. It is of 
great length, and enters most minutely into every detail of every 
department of administration on which it touches. Only its 
principal directions can be mentioned here. It may be said, on the 
whole, so far as it relates to the government of the city, to be an 
amplification of the ordinances already passed by the Assembly. 

(i) It begins with directions as to the election of a Mayor, 

1 No. XXXIX. I. 2 Ibm. 2. 3 No. XL. 4. < No. CXCV. 

= No, XLI. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Ixix. 

which is to be on the feast of S'- Philip and S'- James (May i^t). 
(2) Then follow rules as to the election of Sheriffs on the Nativity 
of the Blessed Virgin (September 8*). In both cases the method 
already in action was to be continued. (3) Then comes the election 
of the 24, who are to be chosen by the electors of each Ward 
on the same day as they choose the Common Council. But 
here a new principle is introduced. The Mayor is to tell the 
electors that although by Charter they might choose 24 concitizens 
annually, it had been agreed by composition that the names of 
the existing 24 should be read, and that they should "stand 
perpetually" as in London, and be removable only for reasonable 
cause. (4) Next comes the election of the Common Council. The 
number is changed from 80 to 60. The election is to begin on the 
Monday after Passion Sunday.'^ On that day 12 Councillors are to 
be chosen for the Ward of Conesford ; on Tuesday i6 for Mancroft 
Ward ; on Wednesday 20 for Wymer Ward ; and on Thursday 
12 for the Ward over the water. Furthermore, these Councillors, 
though chosen by the electors of a whole Ward, were distributed in 
unequal proportions among the sub-divisions formerly mentioned 
as subleets. These sub-divisions are not here called by any 
distinctive title, only Conesford, Berstrete, S'- Peter's, etc. 

With regard to government, it is agreed that the 24 may 
enact nothing binding on the city without assent of the commonalty, 
to which end the former Article shall be amended as in London. 
All the ordinances passed by the Mayor and 24 shall be declared 
by the Recorder or his deputy to the 60, who may demand time 
for deliberation before granting assent. 

7. Charter of King Henry V. 

Blomefield^ says that this Composition did not satisfy the 
Commons, who thereupon made their "Complaints" (as commented 
on already) to Sir Thomas Erpingham and elicited the " Answer " 
from the Mayor, Sheriffs and Twenty-Four. But he is manifestly 
wrong in this. Not only does the reference to Sir Thomas 
limit the mention of disputes as up to 3 April, 1414, many 
months before the Composition, but that agreement deals specifi- 
cally with more than one of the alleged grievances, as the 
question of " assent of the commonalty," and the prohibition of 
the Recorder, who sat as the Mayor's Assessor, from acting 

1 The Sth Sunday in Lent. ^ ffist. III., 131. 

Ixx. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

also as Judge in the Sheriffs' court. There is no evidence of 
any further disputing, though a delay of two years took place 
before the royal sanction was obtained — a delay which may be 
accounted for by the absence of the King and Sir T. Erpingham 
during part of the time fighting in France. On 26 April, 1417, 
the King addressed a mandate^ to the Mayor, Sheriffs, and 
Probi Homines, and also to the Commonalty of Norwich, and, 
having, as he said, heard of their dissensions arising out of 
certain articles in his Father's Charter, he ordered each party 
to choose two sufficient men and send them to him. This 
they did, and we may presume that the delegates carried the 
Composition with them for the King's approval. On 21 July 
the King granted a Charter.^ In this he recites and confirms 
the two previous Charters of I and 5 Henry IV., and then in 
his own name, and without reference to the Composition, 
sanctions its enactments almost word for word, so far as relates 
to the constitution and government of the city. The most 
noticeable alteration is in the name of the 24. Instead of 
being any longer called the "' 24 Concitizens " they are to be 
called the '' 24 Aldermen" of the City of Norwich," and " each 
of them shall continue in that state and degree during their 
lives, unless any reasonable cause for removal should occur." 

One other document may be here mentioned in connection 
with these changes. In December, 1424, a Tripartite Indenture^ 
was entered into between the Mayor, Sheriffs, and Aldermen 
which was afterwards ratified in a Common Assembly by the 
Mayor and the Commonalty, and finally confirmed by Royal 
Letters Patent in 1429 (8 H. VI.).' It relates entirely to the 
right conduct of the Aldermen towards the Mayor and towards 
each other. " The Mayor and Aldermen desire to give good 
example to the Commons of the City of good and quietable 
governance among themselves." The Aldermen, therefore, bind 
themselves by various obligations to obey the Mayor, to attend 
his summonses, to give him good counsel, and in all ways to 
support him. So also they bind themselves to support their 
fellow Aldermen, and in no way to take any part against each 

1 City Domesday, fol. 59. 2 Nq. XIX. 

* It may be surmised that the ruling class had asked for this change of name to 
make the " 24" more like the Aldermen of London. ' No. XLII. 

^ Blomefield III., 137, erroneously says "8 H. VII., 1492.'' It is enrolled on the 
Patent Roll of 8 H. VI. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Ixxi. 

other. This Indenture was signed on 6 December, 1424, by the 
Mayor, the Sheriffs, and 23^ Aldermen. On 15 December it was 
ratified by the iVIayor and the whole Commonalty (Integra 
communitas). The Indenture makes no mention of the Com- 
monalty nor of any duty of the Mayor towards the Aldermen. Its 
object seems to have been to guard against rebellious or partisan 
spirit in the ruling body, and its ratification by the Commonalty 
would bind them to support the Mayor in repressing any such 
manifestations. It lamentably failed to effect its object within the 
lifetime of many of those who signed it. 

8. The new Constitution. The Aldermen and the Commonalty. 

We may take this opportunity of considering the nature of the 
revolution which had now taken place. Its main feature was the 
transference of the source of authority from one centre to another 
or, more correctly, from the whole body to a part. Hitherto the 
fount of all authority (except some police and jurisdictional 
authority derived by the Bailiffs from the King) had been the 
"communitas," the whole body of equal citizens. Now two Estates 
are officially distinguished, "cives et communitas." And of these 
two Estates authority belongs to the former and not to the latter. 
Only in the matter of deliberation in a Common Assembly do they 
meet on the old terms of equality. Even there this is hardly true. 
The mass of the citizens are no longer admitted but have delegated 
their interests to 60 representatives who are bound to be men of 
sufficient substance. And when a resolution affecting the adminis- 
tration of the city is made in the Assembly we do not read as 
before that " it was decided by the whole Community." On 3 April, 
142 1, an order was made about fullers and weavers. Whether it 
was there discussed or only laid before the Assembly does not 
appear, but the order is thus commenced,^ " Whereas we, the Mayor, 
Sheriffs and Aldermen with assent of the Commonalty of Norwich 
for certain causes moving us have ordained, etc." In the matter 
of authority, as this entry shows, this new Estate is recognised 
as having power to order, while the Commonalty is satisfied to 
give or withhold assent. 

So far as we can judge from the evidence of our records there 
was no desire on the part of the commonalty for more than this 

1 The Mayor would be the 24th. 

2 Assembly Roll, Th. bef. S. Ambrose, Bp., 8 Hen. V. 

Ixxii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

power of assent. They had all along claimed it as their right, and 
had recently protested successfully against its secretly contrived 
abolition. But the mass of them were certainly still content to let 
the burden of government rest on the shoulders of their wealthier 

The " Gives '' who are thus distinguished from the " Com- 
munitas " were when they acted together (as in the election of 
one of the Sheriffs), the Mayor, Sheriffs and Aldermen. But, as 
we have seen, in the official title of the corporate body the Mayor 
and Sheriffs are specially named, leaving the term "Gives" to 
describe the Aldermen alone. Whether or not the word was 
intended in the Gharter of Henry IV. to describe more than the 
" 24 , Citizens," at all events after the introduction of the name 
"Aldermen," the two words are frequently interchanged. Thus, 
on 15 September, 1422, at an Assembly, it was ordered that the 
common market for butchers, fishmongers and such like be no 
longer held on Sundays "so far as it belongs to the Mayor, 
Sheriffs, Aldermen and Gommonalty." This is plainly the official 
title with " Aldermen " substituted for " Gitizens." 

As we go further we may see that in practice the word 
"Gommonalty" in the official title when used in connection with 
some definite act may be taken to mean the "60 of the Gommon 
Gouncil." This expression "Gommon Gouncil" at the period with 
which we are dealing seems to be used chiefly in connection with 
the 60 who were chosen to represent the Gommonalty apart from 
the Aldermen. The Aldermen were described as "de consilio 
Maioris," or the "Mayor's Gounsel."i The "60" are at first said 
to be " of the Gommon Gounsel," as in 1425 " unus ex Ix personis 
de communi consilio."^ But in the 1st Assembly Book a little 
later a somewhat cumbrous description is constantly used. The 
60 are spoken of as "Gives electi pro communitate et communi 
consilio Givitatis."' This may mean " for common counsel with 
the Aldermen," and may be intended to adapt an old description 
to new circumstances. Hitherto the " 24 citizens " had been 
described as " pro communitate electi." The description now 
applied more correctly to the 60 and "communi consilio civitatis '' 
is added to denote the official position to which they were elected. 
Some further remarks on this matter will be found at the end of 
this section.* 

1 No XLI. 3 (p. 97). 2 ]sfo. CCV. 3 No. CCX. (1437). i Note C 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Ixxiii. 

9. The name and idea of a " Commune Consilium," or a 
limited body of representatives to take the place of the whole 
body of citizens in a common Assembly, were no doubt borrowed 
from London. It is, indeed, plain that the whole remodelling of 
the civic constitution throughout this epoch was based on the 
example of London. Reference is frequently made in the Charters 
and the Composition of 1415 to London practice. London names, 
till then new to Norwich, are adopted. The " 24 Citizens " take 
the name of " Aldermen " ; the " Tolhouse " is called " the Gildhall " ; 
the old " Leets '' are styled " Wards." It is all the more important 
to notice a very material difference between the practice of London 
and Norwich which was never entirely abolished. This was the 
relation of the Aldermen and the Wards and, to some extent, also 
the relation of the Wards to the Common Council. 

Until 14 1 5 the Twenty- Four were still elected annually to 
give counsel to the Mayor as they had done to the Bailiffs. The 
increased authority which they claimed under the Charter of 1380 
was disputed by the rest of the Community. Even after they were 
called Aldermen they were still elected, as before, six for each 
Great Ward. Their want of special connection with the subleets 
or small wards is evident, because as we see in the Composition 
of 1415 the new-modelled constitution of the city, including the 
Common Council, was based on the then existing system of only 
10 subleets, a number inconsistent with that of the 24 Aldermen.i 
There was thus this great difference between Norwich and London. 
In London there were 24 Wards in each of which an Alderman 
presided in his own Wardmote. There was no attempt at this 
time to imitate this in Norwich.^ 

In the election of Common Councillors a partial attempt was 
made to copy London, where, since 1384, 96 Common Councillors 
had been assigned to 24 wards, unequally according to their 
respective size. The 80 citizens of Norwich already mentioned 
were at first (nominally) divided 20 to each great ward. After 141 5 
the 60 were unequally divided between the four Great Wards and 
in each such ward some were assigned to its subdivisions, still 
numbering only lO. These subdivisions had long been separate 
Constabularies and it was out of that status that they developed 

1 No. XLI. 4, p. 99, note 3. 

2 Compare the oath of a Norwich Alderman in 1424 (No. XLII. p. 112) reciting his 
duty towards the Mayor and his brethren with that of an Alderman of London (Lib. Alb. 
Land. 307) reciting his duty towards his ward. 

Ixxiv. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

into Aldermanries after the middle of the fifteenth century as will 
be then noticed. 

10. Two prominent Societies. 

Before closing the account of this period of our municipal 
history we must notice two associations which were connected 
with the civic life of the city. The first is a somewhat obscure 
association called the " Bacheleria " or " Le Bachery." It is men- 
tioned in the "Complaints of the Commons,"^ in the dispute called 
" Gladman's Insurrection"^ about 1443, and in the early Books 
of the Gild of S'- George till about 1436. In the second of these 
cases it is merely complained of as an unauthorised gild called 
" Le Bachery." The members are said to wear a livery, and are 
accused of making daily riots and holding assemblies under 
pretence of devotion or mutual benefit. In defence it was stated 
that it was a devotional gild which worshipped in the Chapel of 
St. Mary in the Fields and had done so immemorially. The earlier 
mention is much more definite. One of the complaints of the 
Commons is that in disturbing their due election of a Mayor, the 
Mayor, Sheriffs and " prudhommes " are aided by the '' mainten- 
ance' of certain people in the said city of citizens and commonalty 
called 'la bachelery,' who are sworn and inter-allied by their oath 
to the said prudhommes to stand together in all their quarrels, by 
reason of which oaths and inter-alliances the said great part of 
the citizens and commonalty have been disturbed, etc." In a later 
article they accuse the " prudhommes and the people of the company 
of the Bachelery " of spoiling the trade of the Worsted Seld by 
diverting business to their private houses. To the first of these 
charges the prudhommes make no reply. In answer to the latter 
they deny that the " people of estate in the said city and of the 
Bacherie of the same who are merchants of such merchandize " 
have contravened the custom of the city as alleged. 

A Gild of " Bachelors '' or young men is not unknown in other 
towns. But on the face of it this Norwich Gild can hardly have 
been a mere association of young men. Its members not only 
held a strong position socially but, at least some of them, were 
merchants of sufficient influence to divert trade to their own 
houses. They were citizens and in close alliance with the ruling 

1 No. XXXIX. 3, p. 72. 2 Blomefield III. 151, 2 ; No. CCCIII. pp. 341-2. 

Undue influence and support. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Ixxv. 

body or " men of estate." It cannot be doubted that they belonged 
to the same class. The "communitas bachelerie Anglie" is men- 
tioned in the reign of Edward I. and interpreted by Bishop Stubbs'^ 
to be the minor landowners of knightly rank and even all freeholders 
who attended the County Court. Much has been written about 
this and other instances of the use of the word. The most recent 
writer^ concludes that even to the close of the 14"^ century the 
word denoted rather rash impulsive youth than knightly rank. 
The Norwich evidence, however, seems to imply position and 
influence rather than youth, and this is confirmed by some slight 
collateral evidence. In the deposition of King Richard II. in 1399, 
Sir Thomas Erpingham, the great patron of Norwich, acted for the 
"Bachelors and Commons of the South of England"' where 
Bachelors stand between the Commons and the Dukes and Barons 
who precede this class. A remarkably corresponding use of the 
word is found in Norwich at the same time. In the return of the 
Gild of S'- Christopher in Norwich, in 1389, is a most comprehensive 
prayer* to be offered by the members. After praying for all kinds 
of spiritual persons they come to lay people and begin with the 
" King, Queen, Dukes, Erles, Barouns and Bachelers of y^ lond." 
These are persons who have to " reulen and kepen y^ Roialme 
and holy chirche" as well as "here owen soules." Then prayer 
is offered for "alle knyghtes, squyers, citizenis and Burgeys, 
fraunkeleyns, etc." These Norwich folk may have been wrong in 
their exalted opinion of a bachelor, but plainly the compilers of 
this prayer (no unlearned men) associated the title with a position 
of responsibility. As we may assume that the Gild of the Bachelery 
was not in existence when the returns were made in 1389, we may 
suggest that it arose out of the requirements of the new County 
organisation. A large list of Jurors for various purposes would 
have to be made for the Sheriffs from a class corresponding to the 
knightly class in the counties.' The Gild may have been formed 
of members of such a class. Some remarks on the gild may be 
found in Mrs. Green's Town Life in the Fifteenth Century II. 389. 
But the writer was not acquainted with the real meaning of the 

1 Const. Hist. II. 83, 195. 

2 Professor Tout, Engl. Hist. Rev., Jan. 1902, p. 89. 

3 Cotton Abridgment of Public Records, p. 389 ; Blomefield III, 118. 
* Toulrain Smith English Gilds, p. 22. 

5 In the Sheriffs' Tourn of 1555 (Leet Jurisdiction in Norwich, p. 92) the jurors are 
called '■ Milites Tumi." 

Ixxvi. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

title "Le Bachery," the statements in the "Complaints" and 
" Answers " not having then come under the notice even of Norwich 

The Gild of St. George. Of this association it is not necessary 
here to say more than that it must already have been a body of 
some influence. According to its own return in 1389^ it had been 
founded in 1385, with perhaps something of a military character, 
for prayers were to be offered by the members "for all trewe men 
yat travaillen in y^ Kynges viage." In 141 7, the year when King 
Henry V. gave his charter to the municipality, he conferred a charter 
on this Gild licensing it to hold property to the extent of £\o. At 
present it is not mentioned in connection with civic affairs. At a 
later time, as will be noticed, it more than occupied the place 
assigned here to the Bachelery. 

Note A. On the date of the first appointment of a Mayor and 
Sheriffs in 1404. See p. Ixii. 

Extract from the Mayor's Book. — Under date of 5 Henry IV., which 
began 30 September, 1403, is stated : — 

" Bailiffs Robert Brasyer, Thomas Leverych, Richard Purdaunce, 
John Damyard. 

In which year the Community of Norwich obtained [license] from 
the Lord King by his charter to choose among themselves a Mayor. 
And in place, of the four Bailiffs two Sheriffs. And on the 1=' day of 
March in the said year they chose William Applyard Mayor, and 
set aside the four Bailiffs, and chose the aforesaid Robert Brasyer and 
John Damyard Sheriffs of the said City for that year till the feast of 
S'- Michael the Archangel, then next following : 

1403 [140I] William Applyard, first Mayor i, Robert Brasyer, 

John Damyard. 

1404 William Applyard 2, Sampson Baxster, John Skye. 

1405 William Applyard 3, John Harleston, Richard 


1406 Walter Danyel, Edmond Warner, Richard Drewe." 
From the Court Rolls. — In the fifth year of Henry IV. : — 

"Be it remembered that the testament of Geoffrey de Bonewell 
of Norwich, chaplain, was lawfully proved in full Court of Norwich, 
before Robert Brasyer and his fellows, Bailiffs of the said City, on the 
i^' day of March in the 5"^ year of King Henry, etc." 

[The rest of this membrane is blank ; then follows a small 
membrane with one entry, viz. :] 

^ English Gilds, p. I7. 

Selected Records of the City of Norivich Ixxvii. 

"The first Roll of Deeds and Testaments acknowledged in the 
full Court of the City of Norwich before Robert Brasyer and John 
Damiard Sheriffs of the said City from the feast of S'- Gregory the 
Pope in the s"» year of King Henry IV. till the feast of S'. 
Michael next following." 

In the sixth year of Henry IV. 

" Roll of Deeds, etc., before Sampson Baxter, and John Skye 
Sheriffs of the said City from the feast of S'- Remigius on the i»' day 
of October in the sixth year, etc." 

The Enrolments were made before the Sheriffs till i Henry V. 

In a Roll headed " Second Roll in the time of William Sedman 
and Robert Southfeld Sheriffs," after other enrolments "before the 
Sheriffs," one on 4 December is entered as " before Richard Drewe, 

In a Roll of 3_ Henry V. is entered, 

"First Roll of Deeds, etc before John Mannyng 

Mayor from the feast of Holy Trinity in the third year .... 
for a whole year to the same feast of the Holy Trinity, etc." 

Note B. On the expression " Gives et Communitas." See p. Ixvi. 

This expression, as repeated in a Charter of King Edward IV., 
was in 148 1 the subject of a learned discussion before the King's 
Judges reported in the ninth Year Book, an abstract of which is 
given by Merewether and Stephens.' In the case of the Abbot of 
S'- Benet v. the Men of Norwich a citizen appeared and claimed exemp- 
tion from pleading outside the City of Norwich. The Charter was 
produced.^ The discussion turned partly on these words. The Charter, 
it was agreed, incorporated the men of Norwich by the name of 
" Citizens and Commonalty." But the grant of exemption was made 
in these words, " Goncessimus etiam civibus predictis, etc." Does 
" Civibus " in the latter part of the charter include the whole corporate 
body mentioned before? Some of the Judges held that it did not, 
but two maintained that it did. One of them held that in this case 
"civibus is to the same effect as commonalty." The other held that 
the word "civibus" being in the premises included "communitas." 
No attempt was made to enquire into the origin of the expression; 
nor was any reference made to the fact that the "civibus'' of the 
grant of exemption was recited from the Charter of Richard I., and 
had been used more than 200 years before the fuller expression of 
5 Henry IV., in which it first occurs. Apparently, by a legal fiction, 

' Hist, of Engl. Boroughs, p. 1020. 

2 It would be that of 10 February, I Edward IV. 

Ixxviii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

every clause even in the recited charters was supposed to be literally 
granted anew by the King who appended his general coniirmation. 

Note C. On the original meaning of a Common Council." 
See p. Ixxii. 

It is doubtful whether the phrase "per commune consilium 
civitatis" in the thirteenth century should ever be rendered "by the 
Common Council of the City." It is also very difficult to decide 
definitely what was in the minds of those who in the end of the 
fourteenth and in the fifteenth centuries were actually speaking of 
what has since been called a municipal Common Council. We must 
here confine ourselves to the Norwich evidence. We have two facts 
to guide us. First the word "consilium" in the case of the Twenty- 
Four was certainly based on the idea of " counsel." They might be 
described in modern language as the Bailiffs' (or the Mayor's) Council, 
but more strictly they were " Counsellors." We should, therefore, 
expect the same meaning to attach to the 60 elected "pro communi 
consilio." The fifteenth century oath of a Common Councillor^ bears 
this out, " When ye be summoned to the common counsel of the City 
good and true counsel ye shall give after your wit and cunning." 
Secondly, a combined meeting of all the deliberative body is almost 
without exception called an " Assembly" (congregatio). It would 
appear, therefore, that the original meaning of " Commune Consilium " 
was " common counsel." But the word " consilium " had very early 
been used for the advisory body, as in the expression used of the 
Twenty-Four, "de consilio Ballivorum," probably through confusion 
with the similar word " concilium." This development is illustrated 
in an entry of 1493.^ At the election of Aldermen and Councillors 
the clerk (quite out of ordinary form) connects the Aldermen with 
the Council, describing them as elected "de communi consilio," to be 
members of the Common Council. In the case of the Councillors he 
curiously describes them as elected "de et pro communi consilio," which 
is a mixture of the membership of a Council ascribed to the Aldermen 
and the obligation to join in giving good counsel hitherto ascribed 
to the 60 representatives of the Commonalty. In a much later 
document these two senses are carefully distinguished. The second 
Charter of Charles II.,° granted in 1683, and afterwards cancelled, 
orders that the Mayor, the Aldermen (or any 12 of them), the two 
Sheriffs, and the Common Counsellors (consiliarii), or a majority of 
them, shall be the Common Council (Concihum) of the City. 

1 No. XLVII. I, p. 122. 2 No. CCXXXI., p. 288. 

s No. XXXII., p. 51. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Ixxix. 

VI. — Troubled Times and Opposition, 1426 — 1447. 

I. Alleged Encroachment on the King's jurisdiction in the 

In 1426, Thomas Ingham, then Mayor, commenced a new 
" Book of Evidences,'' a step which we have more than once taken 
as a sign of the hopeful anticipation of a period of municipal 
progress. The Book has long been called the "Liber Albus"^ 
and was doubtless suggested by its London namesake, which was 
compiled in 1419 by John Carpenter, Common Clerk of London. If 
Thomas Ingham, like Richard Spynk 80 years before, looked 
forward to a time of peaceful progress under the new regime his 
hopes were sadly disappointed. Even then the citizens were 
engaged in a tedious legal contest with the King, and in fact the 
whole period between 1417 and 1452 was marked by almost 
incessant litigation ending in heavy penalties and more than one 
forfeiture of the liberties of the city. Both the " Liber Albus '' 
commenced at the beginning of this disastrous period, and the 
" Book of Pleas," compiled at its close, are full of records of the 
legal proceedings which scarcely ceased. They belong to four or 
five distinct controversies and the disentanglement and piecing 
together of the mass of confused and scattered details is no sliglit 
task. They are here noticed partly because they chiefly arose out 
of difficulties in working the new constitution and also because 
they illustrate in many ways the municipal condition of the city 
and the development of the final settlement of the form and 
character of the governing body which was mainly effected in 1452 
and underwent little change afterwards till 1831;. 

The first of these controversies was the direct result of the 
separation of the City of Norwich from the County of Norfolk and 
its establishment as a County of itself. It was taken for granted 
by the citizens that this grant carried with it an extended area 
of suburban jurisdiction. The new County must needs include 
more area than the old City. Attention has previously been 
drawn to the uncertainty which exists as to the recognised circuit 
of the city before the license to enclose it with a bank and ditch 
in 1253. Scarcely any evidence on this matter is forthcoming. 
In Domesday Book the Vill of Norwich and the Hundred of 

1 Whether it was originally called "Liber Albus " is doubtful. It is referred to in 
some city documents as " Liber Cartarura " or " Liber Pergamenus." 

Ixxx. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Norwich are apparently treated as identical. The burgesses, 
however, have some possession over 80 acres of land and three 
of meadow in the adjoining Hundred of Humbkyard. In 1205, 
a dispute arose which led to a fine being levied^ between the Prior 
of Norwich and the citizens concerning some pasture land in 
Lakenham and Eaton. Whether this was the same as the 80 
acres of Domesday cannot be proved. It was decided that the 
fee belonged to the Prior but the citizens had rights of pasture. 
The latter agreed to certain small payments for their cattle and 
gave the Prior leave to cultivate 40 acres. In this fine the land 
is described as " in suburbio Norwici." Such an expression might 
be used as an appropriate description of land outside the inhabited 
limits of the town and adjoining it. When the foss was made in 
1253, the citizens in the opinion of the monks of the Priory^ 
" could in no manner do [this work] without prejudice of others, 
by enclosing lands of other fees and other franchises and lying in 
divers hundreds." These wrongfully appropriated lands are 
specified as lying round a great part of the city in the hundreds 
of Blofield, Taverham and Humbleyard. The monks ought, in 
fairness, to have admitted that in two cases at least the citizens 
left lands unenclosed which certainly formed inhabited parts of the 
city ; outside Conesford Gates towards Trous and part of the 
parish of St. Benedict towards Heigham. No small portion of the 
lands thus enclosed in 1253, as the Cathedral Precinct and Normans- 
land, and Holmstrete, Ratonrowe and part of Tombland (which 
three lay outside the Precinct wall) were in the jurisdiction of the 
Prior. Over these the citizens had already^ challenged the juris- 
diction on the ground that King Richard I. had granted them 
the city and had not excepted these parts. They do not venture 
to claim that these lands were within the jurisdiction of the city 
in King Richard's time, and the monks affirm on the contrary that 
" before the 5'^ year of King Richard the First they were entirely 
separated from the City of Norwich." With regard to these 
disputed lands which lay within the city enclosure there had 
always been constant disputes. But when the City became a 
County the area of dispute was extended to the suburbs. 

The foundation for this was the language of the Charter of 
King Henry IV. It ran, " We have granted .... that the 

1 Feet of Fines Norf., John, No. 293 ; Lib. Alb. Norw. f. \'id. ; Town Close Ev. 4. 

2 No. XXXIII. p. 57. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Ixxxi. 

said city and all the land within the said City and the Liberty 
thereof with its suburbs and hamlets and their precinct and the 
land in the circuit of our said City of Norwich (the Castle and the 
Shirehouse excepted) shall be separated from the said County of 
Norfolk." And at the close of the Charter it is declared that the 
change of Title is not to be to the prejudice " of the aforesaid 
Citizens and Commonalty [and] their heirs and successors or the 
tenants and residents within the said City of Norwich, suburbs, 
hamlets, land, precinct and circuit in respect of any of the liberties 
heretofore granted to them by our progenitors." We may suspect 
that this ample description was suggested by the citizens themselves. 
When, however, they endeavoured to act upon their liberties as 
thus interpreted they found themselves involved in a conflict with 
the very authority which had granted them. 

2. The controversy began with a charge made by the Prioress 
of Carrowe^ against the Prior of Norwich for driving off some of 
her cattle from Carrowe and impounding them at Lakenham till 
she made fine. The plea was tried at Westminster in Trinity Term, 
1416. The Prioress was described as "Prioress of Carrowe in the 
County of Norwich." The Prior objects that Carrowe is in the 
parish of Bracondale which is in the County of Norfolk and that 
only by colour of the late Charter making the city into a county 
did the citizens claim it as parcel of the city. Judgment on this 
issue was given that "on the day of Henry IV.'s Charter Carrow 
was parcel of the City of Norwich." In Michaelmas Term, 1416,^ 
the same Prioress was appealed by a certain Margery, widow of 
William Koc, of Trous, who had been murdered at Lakenham in 
141 5, on a charge of harbouring his murderers. Again the case 
turned on the same question with the same result. The second 
verdict that Carrow was in Norwich and not in Norfolk was not 
given till July, 1418. 

Meanwhile more sweeping charges were brought against the 
citizens themselves. On 10 July, 1417, King Henry V. issued a 
Writ° to Edmund Oldhalle, his Escheator in Norfolk, to enquire 
into alleged encroachments by the Citizens of Norwich on the 
King's Geldable by appropriating jurisdiction in the hamlets, etc. 
The Inquisition was held at Cringleford on October 7* in the 
same year. The citizens were charged with many offences. They 

' No. CCLXXXIV. 2 No. CCLXXXV. See Lib. Alb. Norw., io\. /^e,. 


Ixxxii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

had illegally held an inquest on the body of William Coke, murdered, 
as just mentioned, in Bracondale, on i6 August, 1415. They had 
held another inquest on a body found in a clay pit in Bracondale. 
They had compelled residents in Bracondale to answer plaints of 
debt in their court. In 1417 the Mayor, Sheriffs and others had 
fished in Trous Ee and carried the fish home singing and shouting 
" We are in possession by right, and by our liberties of the City 
of Norwich we have caught them, etc." At their Sheriffs' Tourn 
in 141 5 they had amerced the Prior for making ditches in a meadow 
on the Thorpe side of the river. In 14 16 the Capital Pledges at 
the Sheriffs' Tourn had perambulated various parts of Trous and 
Lakenham. They had seized distraints from persons at Sprowston, 
a mile out of the city. The judgment in this case is not recorded, 
but it went against the citizens and, after long delay, in Hilary 
Term, 143 1, they threw themselves on the King's mercy. The 
Mayor was fined £\2\ two former Sheriffs £d, 6s. 2>d., and various 
smaller fines were laid upon a number of citizens specified by 

About 10 years afterwards (in 144 1) all these charges were 
again brought against the citizens with other fresh charges of a 
similar kind in what we may call the third great trouble.^ The 
citizens in pleading at Westminster claimed that all the hamlets, 
etc., became, by the charter of Henry IV., "the one county of the 
city of Norwich." The case di'agged on till 23 September, 1443, 
when at an Inquisition held at East Dereham, before Judges 
Yelverton and Paston, a Jury declared that not only the Prior's 
lands within the walls had never been in the King's City of Norwich, 
but also that Magdalen Hospital and the Clay pit and the hamlets 
of Trous, Lakenham, Brakendale and Eton, TrousmyHegate and 
the Priory of Carrow are not and were not (nor any parcel of them) 
in the suburbs of the city. 

3. In considering these verdicts we may observe that the 
Juries in the cases where the Prioress of Carrow was concerned 
(the first of which consisted of 24 knights from that venue) affirmed 
that Carrow was parcel of the city. In the Inquisition at Cringle- 
ford in 14.17, the advocate for the Crown began with a statement 
that "all the hamlets are wholly in and of the Couuty of Norfolk 
and the City has no hamlets save one outside Heigham Gates." 
With that exception, he argued, the City Ditches or the middle 


Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Ixxxiii. 

of the River fonned the boundary between the City and the County. 
This was too sweeping an assertion, for besides Carrow and part 
of Heigham a third suburb was certainly Trous and Trousmyllegate 
outside Conesford Gates. This was so thoroughly acknowledged 
that in the payment of a Tenth and Fifteenth, while Bracondale 
was charged 20s. as a township of the Norfolk Hundred of Humble- 
yard, \2s. of that sum was collected by the City Collectors in Trous, 
as being part of the City. This was the case in the time of 
Henry V.i 

With these and perhaps a few other exceptions there seems 
to have been no part of the suburbs of Norwich over which its 
-citizens could succeed at this time in substantiating any right to 
jurisdiction^ even by appealing to the comprehensive terms of King 
Henry IV.'s Charter. It seems indisputable, therefore, that they 
could now claim no rights over any ancient "leuga" or "banlieu'' 
such as many old cities and boroughs possessed. It may of course 
be possible that they had once had such rights and had lost them. 
Mention of " Norwich Fields " is made in early documents. What 
evidence can be adduced may be stated elsewhere. 

4. " Wetherby' s Contention" 

The second of the great troubles which marked this period 
resulted in far more disastrous consequences than the first, and was 
mainly the cause of those that followed. From i May, 1433, till 
12 November, 1447, the city knew no peace. The originating 
cause of the disturbance was not, as before, undue straining of 
jurisdictional claims, but internal faction. The voluminous records 
which have been preserved agree in attributing the mischief almost 
entirely to the factions and unpatriotic conduct of a leading citizen, 
Thomas Wetherby. His opponents accuse him of over-weening 
pride and a desire to rule the city wholly after his own will." His 
weak defence of his proceedings in a court of law and the character 
of the outside patrons whom he enlisted on his side to interfere 
in matters which were no concern of theirs are confirmatory of 
their condemnation. Unfortunately for the city, it was a time 
when violence and contempt for justice reigned supreme throughout 
the land, so that even the Privy Council discussed the matter, when 

1 Norf. Arch. XII. 289. Kirkpatrick's Streets and Lanes, p. 90. 

2 Such as the Cambridge Borough Court did. Maitland Tnvnship and Borough, 
pp. 74, 75. » Lib. Alb. Noriv., fol. Ixvi., No. CCCIX. 

Ixxxiv. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

it came before them, with a disregard of all points except one, how 
the King might best take financial advantage of the city's 

Thomas Wetherby had been Mayor for the second time in 
1432, and on i May, 1433, towards the close of his year of office, 
the citizens met to elect a new Mayor.i According to their charter 
the Commons named two Aldermen, Purdance and Gerard. But 
Wetherby was determined to have one Grey as the next Mayor. A 
confused scene of riot followed. Hauke, the Common Clerk, falsely 
returned the names of Grey and Gerard. Wetherby's mace bearer 
threatened to break his opponents' heads with his mace, and other 
officers behaved with equal violence. Wetherby came out to the 
Commons and declared that Grey was their new Mayor. But they 
all cried out with one voice, " Nay, Nay, Nay, we never named Grey, 
but Purdance and Gerard." Wetherby led Grey home, but the rest 
remained and elected Purdance. Fearing, however, that the absence 
of the Mayor might invalidate the election, they made some 
inefifectual attempts to get Wetherby to return. Finally, by the 
intervention of the Bishop, he was persuaded to agree to the election 
of Purdance — which he promised " with mouth and heart and with 
his hand in the Bishop's hand." Wetherby continued to hold office 
till June 16'^ and during that time had, as Mayor, to give his 
approval to the disfranchisement of his offending municipal officers. 
On June 16*'^ Purdance, his successor, confirmed the sentence, and it 
was sealed with the city seal. All this was but the beginning of 
troubles. At Wetherby's instigation a Commission was appointed 
in September^ following to enquire into the misgovernment of the city. 
Whether it met does not appear. In February, 1434, in presence of 
the Chancellor^ (the Bishop of Bath), and the Earl of Suffolk, 
Wetherby and his party on one side and the citizens on the other 
agreed to appoint a Commission of themselves to enquire into the 
grievances, and all promised to abide by the award. This Com- 
mission of Arbitrators was chosen in full Assembly, and after several 
sittings, on March 12'h the five officers, who had been punished for 
violence at the election, were declared guilty and fined £20 each, 
which was pardoned on their submission. On March 22'"' Wetherby, 
who had refused to come near, was fined £\oo and deprived of all 
offices. On March 26'^ the Award was approved by the Assembly. 

1 No. CCXCVI. The sitting Mayor remained in office till Trinity Tuesday. 

2 Blomefield III.. 144. ' No. CCXCIV. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Ixxxv. 

This year and the two years following Wetherby continued to 
interfere in the election of Mayors,^ but nothing serious occurred till 
Michaelmas, 1436. Then Hauke, the offending Common Clerk, was 
appointed Under Sheriff in spite of his disqualification.^ This is 
attributed to Wetherby's influence, seconded by the two new Sheriffs. 
Thereupon the whole of the Commons made suit to the Chancellor 
to remove Hauke. But Hauke on November 23'''* caused false 
returns to be made, in which the complainants were accused of 
malpractices on i May, 1433, and a different account of that election 
was given. He then, without the knowledge of the Sheriffs, took 
their privy seal, which was in his keeping as Under Sheriff, and 
sealed the documents in their name. 

5. This new development called forth a Royal Writ of Enquiry. 
On December 18"* Sergeant (afterwards Justice) Goddard was sent 
down to ascertain the truth. On January 2°'^' 1437. he came to 
Norwich and summoned before him all the officials, the Common 
Councillors and all others interested, the whole of whom were pre- 
sent except three. The Enquiry, as reported to the King, is recorded 
at great length in an exemplification afterwards obtained and copied 
in the Book of Pleas, and from it the above information is chiefly 
taken.* The general result was that the whole of those present 
affirmed the truth of all the accusations made against Wetherby and 
his party, and the falsehood of all the counter accusations made 
against the other citizens in Hauke's return. 

6. After this emphatic judgment the next step taken would 
come rather as a surprise but for our knowledge of the utter 
lawlessness of the period. On 21 March William de la Pole, Earl of 
Suffolk, attended an Assembly to declare the King's will.* It was 
ordered that all writings or edicts against any of the offenders were 
to be declared null and void, and that all of them were to be 
reinstated in the offices from which they had been removed. 
The only compensation was that Wetherby and his party should 
no more vex their opponents. This agreement was to be signed 
by all parties and one duplicate to be kept by the Earl, the other 
to be laid up among the evidences and muniments of the city. 
Although this order was palpably unjust, it accorded with the 
view which the highest authorities at Westminster, instigated, as 

1 No. CCCIX. (p. 348)- ' No. CCXCII. 


^ Assembly Book, fol. ii. No. CCXCVIII. 

Ixxxvi. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

it would seem, by Wetherby, had been induced to adopt. On 
26 April the Privy Council^ sent two Commissioners to Norwich 
to be present at the next election on i May. It is said that 
Wetherby got them down at his own cost, yet the election 
went against his candidate.^ The Privy Council next summoned 
six persons of each party, who appeared before the King's 
Council on 12 July. It was then ordered that the liberties of 
the city should be seized and its custody entrusted to John 
Welles, an Alderman of London. Two Sheriffs were also appointed 
to answer to the King for his dues. So matters continued till 
November, when a curious discussion took place in the Privy 
Council.^ It was stated that the maintenance of the Warden 
involved a "great charge." As the King on these forfeitures 
took all the tolls and profits into his own hands, this indicates 
how much the city was suffering from all the disturbances. 
The Privy Council advised the King that he should appoint an 
impartial person as Mayor till the next election, and meanwhile 
demand a declaration of submission from the citizens. If they 
refused he might close their port by way of cutting off their 
private trade ; but " the cloth was to pass," otherwise the King would 
suffer damage. Afterwards, on payment of a heavy penalty, 
their liberties might be restored.* In that case the number of 
Aldermen was to be reduced, a proposal as to which we shall find 
more said in other documents. The first part of this advice was 
adopted.* On 29 November the King appointed John Cambridge 
as Mayor, and two other citizens as Sheriffs, but the Warden 
continued in the city, and although on 4 March, 1438,^ he is 
called " late ful notable and worthy warden," yet the same day a 
letter was sealed to John Carpenter of London (evidently the 
well-known Common Clerk), urging him " to make instances to 
the King's Council for full reformation of our liberties." Two 
days later, in presence of the late Warden, the customary form of 
peacemaking all round was gone through, and for a time things 
took their usual course. What penalty was imposed on the 
citizens is not recorded. 

1 Privy Council Proceedings, No. CCXCIX. 2 Nq. cCCIX, p. 348. 

8 No. CCXCIX., p. 338. 

•• In commenting on this discussion Sir H. Nicolas (Proc. Privy Council, vol, 5, 
p. xxiv.) justly observes, " So favourable a pretence for raising money ^zs too tempting 
to be resisted." 

^ Patent Roll, 16 H. VI., part i, ra. 13. '^ Assembly 4 Mar., 16 H. VI. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Ixxxvii. 

7. Disputes with the Prior of Norwich and others about 

The supposed settlement of March, 1438, was of very short 
duration. According to the narrative in the Liber Albus} Wetherby, 
after failing to elect his candidate in iVEay, 1437, " continued in his 
malyce gretely to hurt the Citte." He revenged himself by 
stirring up outsiders to bring complaints against the citizens. He 
induced three neighbours to attack them, the Prior of Norwich, 
the Abbot of Wendling, and the Abbot of S'- Benet. Already in 
1437, October 25'^ the Assembly had resolved that if the Abbot 
of Wendling impleaded the City concerning the Common Stathe, 
the Treasurer should pay all costs out of the goods of the city.^ 
The Citizens held a lease for 600 years of a Common Stathe or 
landing place belonging to the Abbot in Conesford. Something 
was owing to him, for on December 12'^ an obligatory bond of 
;£^iOO due to the Abbot of Wendling was sealed with the common 
seal and deposited with another writing of the Abbot in the 
hands of the Prior of Norwich " to be kept as in an unbiassed 
hand."^ The Prior had not yet joined in the fray. But on 
4 February, 1439, a Writ of Trespass was served against the 
Mayor and Sheriffs for a rescue in Holmstrete.* Though this 
action was taken by the Sheriff of Norfolk, the locality was part 
of the old fee of the Prior. Every " able and resident '' citizen 
was ordered to pay 6d. to defend the franchise on pain of losing 
the freedom. The prospects of the citizens were probably not 
improved by their sending two of their number on 18 October, 
1440, to ask the King to repay ;^iOO they had lent him. The 
Duke of Gloucester was expected in Norwich, and the ;^ioo, if 
recovered, were to remain with the Treasurer, so that 40 marks of 
the said ;£^lOO might be given for the honour of the city to the 
Duke of Gloucester.^ Needless to say, this scheme of propitiating 
the Duke at the expense of the King did not succeed. On the 
contrary, the Duke of Norfolk arrived^ on January 30* 1441, 
to ask for a further loan for the King, but was told, no doubt 
with truth, that the city was too impoverished to give any 

The threatened storm burst in the following July. A Com- 
mission of Oyer and Terminer obtained by Wetherby and his 

1 No. CCCIX. (p. 348 foot). 2 ist Assembly Book, fol. iv. d. 

8 "Ut in equali manu custodiend," ist Assembly Book, fol. v. 

^ Ibm., fol. vii. ^ No. CCXVI. " ist Assembly Book, fol. xv. 

Ixxxviii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

confederates sat at Thetford on 31 July> There the Prior and 
the Abbot of Wendling, each separately, laid before the Com- 
missioners the Statute of 28 Edward III., authorising the 
neighbouring counties to deal with misgovernment in cities and 
boroughs.^ Armed with this authority, the Commission seems 
to have started litigation in respect of the complaints of the 
Prior and the Abbot of S'- Benet. About the Abbot of Wend- 
ling we hear no more. The proceedings with regard to the 
Prior's charges we have already referred to," so far as they 
relate to the hamlets. We have called them the third of the 
great troubles which now befell the city. The litigation on that 
point was transferred to Westminster, and was protracted till 
September, 1443, when a Court at East Dereham adjudged that 
the Mayor and Citizens had been guilty of encroachments and 
must make fine with the King. All parties were to come at 
the Octave of Hilary following to hear judgment.^ 

8. ■' Gladman's Insurrection." 

The controversy with the Prior or with the King as to 
encroachments on the King's geldable or the Prior's exempt 
jurisdiction might have terminated as before in a money penalty. 
But in the earlier part of this year, 1443, there had occurred in 
the city the fourth and worst catastrophe of all this disastrous period. 
As already mentioned, besides the complaints of the Prior and 
the Abbot of Wendling, there came before the Commission at 
Thetford in July, 1441, some complaints of the Abbot of S'- 
Benet, who held the Manor of Heigham on the River Wensum 
immediately above Norwich.' Some ten years before, the citizens 
had erected some new mills within the city boundary, and the 
Abbot maintained that they had thus obstructed the flow of 
the water from his lands and also blocked his right of free 
passage for his boats. The defence of the citizens was that there 
had always been four mills standing across the river, and that the 
Abbot never had a passage for his boats except when they 
themselves had cut one at the making of the New Mills. The 
report of the Commission on this matter is not recorded. Wetherby 
and his fellows, under pretence of being friends to the City, 
managed to get the dispute between the citizens and the Abbot 

1 Nos CCLXXXVIII. and CCLXXXIX. 2 See above, Sect, iv., 12. 

8 Ante, p. Ixxxii. '' No. CCXCI. ^ No. CCCIX. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Ixxxix. 

submitted to the arbitration of the Earl of Suffolk, who had 
already sufficiently shown his bias against the city. His Award, 
which is not preserved, seems to have ordered the citizens to abolish 
their mills and to enter into a bond of ;£'ioo with the Abbot to 
be forfeited if ever they ventured to start them again/ This 
must have been some time during the year 1442. The citizens 
indignantly refused to accept the Award or to put the Common 
Seal to any such bond. From September onwards great efforts 
were made by Wetherby and the Abbot's Council to get the matter 
through, but without effect. To this period we may probably assign 
the interference of another great man whom Wetherby had won over 
to his side, the Duke of Norfolk. Two of his letters are preserved.^ 
They are both written from his Castle at Framlingham. In the 
first, dated 9 October, in what year is not mentioned, he complains of 
the unfriendliness of the citizens towards Wetherby " which standith 
in favour of our good lordship," and bids_ them allow him to go 
peacably in and out of the city.' They were to return a satisfactory 
answer by the bearer. This they declined to do. So he writes again 
on 28 December, saying that he has heard that far from showing 
Wetherby favour, as he (the Duke) desired, they were even feigning 
new causes of malice against him. He announces that he intends to 
support Wetherby in his right, and warns them of the consequence 
if they defy him. Mention is also made of the Duke's active 
support of Wetherby in London in one of the Paston letters.* 

9. Things continued in a critical condition until the following 
January. Then (to follow the narrative in the Liber Albusf 
Wetherby and the Abbot's Council came to Norwich and persuaded 
William Hempstede, then Mayor, to call an Assembly. They met 
on the Conversion of S'- Paul" (January 25'^), and sat for many 
hours, Wetherby and his friends vainly endeavouring to get the bond 
sealed. At last a great crowd of the Commons came to the Hall 
and carried away the Common Seal so that nothing might be sealed 
in their name. The narrative which contains this statement was 
not written till 1482. It seems more likely that the Assembly and 
the seizure of the seal took place on the previous Tuesday, 
22"'' January. On that day it is stated' that the citizens rose in a 

' No. CCCIX., p. 350. 2 No. CCCVIII. 

8 He lived at Intwood, about two miles from the city. 

« Gairdner's Paston Letters (1896) I., 43, conjecturally dated "after 1440." See also 
note A at the end of this section. ' No. CCCIX. and CCCX. 

p. 350 (foot). ' No. CCCI. Inquisition at Thetford. 

xc. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

threatening manner, declaring that they had power to slay the 
Bishop, the Abbot of S'- Benet, and the Prior of Norwich, and 
compel them to relinquish their actions. The Assembly sat till five 
o'clock,! so it would be too dark to do much more than threaten. 
Perhaps the next day, or, if not, on the 25'^ occurred the most 
unaccountable incident of the whole disturbance.^ A certain John 
Gladman is accused of parading the streets on horseback as a King, 
with a paper crown on his head, preceded by two men carrying 
a sceptre and a sword, and followed by a number of supposed 
attendants, who called the citizens to arms. The whole reads like a 
piece of Christmas mummery, and so it was explained. He was 
a man, it was said in defence, of a sad disposition and true and 
faithful to God and the King. He was only disporting himself, " as 
hath ben accustomed in ony Cite or Burgh thrugh al this reaume on 
Fastyngong Tuesday." He was crowned as King of Christmas. 
Before him went the months of the year, and behind came Lent clad 
in white, with red herring skins and his horse trapped with oyster 
shells. The mention of " Fastyngong Tuesday," that is, Shrove 
Tuesday, is perplexing, and has led to its being stated sometimes 
that this riot took place on that day. It was certainly on 24* or 
25* January,^ and Shrove Tuesday in that year was not till 5 March. 
So it was a poor excuse for what was at best a foolish thing in the 
excited state of the city, to plead that he was only doing what 
any one might be expected to be doing some weeks afterwards. 
Whatever was the meaning of this strange procession, it caused the 
whole riot to be dignified by the high-sounding title of " Gladman's 
Insurrection." On January 25'h (either the day of this procession or 
the next) a deliberate attack by a large body of citizens was made 
on the Priory,* which was besieged for four days, when two of the 
monks brought and delivered up an agreement made in 1429 between 
the then Mayor and Prior by which the Mayor had bound the 
citizens to pay an annual sum of 4^. to the Prior and relinquish all 
rights in the disputed districts. 

10. Meanwhile news of the riot had reached London and the 
Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Oxford and others arrived with a 
royal commission to take the city into the King's hands. But 
from 28 January for a week the Citizens kept the gates closed 
and would not allow the Commissioners to enter."^ They had now 

1 p. 351. 2 Nos. CCCI. andCCCVI., p. 345. 

'^ The 25th being a Feast Day might be the more likely day. 

•* No. CCCI. '" Ibm. p. 341. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xci. 

compromised themselves without hope of evading punishment. 
Wetherby is, of course, accused of making the most of the 
delinquencies of his opponents.^ He and the Abbot charged them 
before the King and his Council with the supposed insurrection, 
and the Mayor was summoned to London. He went at once to 
Greenwich to solicit the support of the Duke of Gloucester which 
was promised, but without avail. When the Mayor appeared before 
the Lords of the Council on February 13''^ he was arrested and 
committed to the Flete Prison^ and only released on 26 March 
on payment of a fine of ;^50. While the Mayor was in prison 
Wetherby and his party ruled the city as they would. They got 
possession of the seal and sealed bonds of ;^ioo to the Abbot of 
S'- Benet and two others of ;^50 each to the Bishop and the Prior, 
and destroyed the city mills, to the great damage of the city. This 
was done on lO March, when the citizens were utterly helpless. A 
Commission of Oyer and Terminer had been appointed, consisting 
of Sir John Fortescue and other Justices, who sat at Thetford on 
28 February. After hearing all the charges the Court adjourned 
and met again at Norwich on 4 March. There a certain Thomas 
del Rowe was appointed by Wetherby, who was now supreme, to 
act as attorney for the city." He pleaded a defence in the morning, 
but in the afternoon with no just reason entirely relinquished his 
plea. By his action the Mayor and Commonalty were made to 
throw themselves on the King's mercy " humillimo modo quo 
sciverunt aut potuerunt de alto et basso." They offered to make 
fine with the King and give as pledges William Hempstead, Thomas 
Wetherby and 120 other substantial citizens.^ But it was found 
that nearly all these were already separately attached for other 
fines, perhaps in connection with the pleas on the Prior's charges 
which were not yet completed.'^ They were therefore held insuffi- 
cient. A day, 14 March, was fixed for judgment, and then the 
liberties were seized and Sir John Clifton was appointed Warden." 
II. After the liberties were restored in 1447, the citizens 
repaired their mills, and in Easter Term, 21 Edward IV., another 
Abbot of S'- Benet sued the city for the ;^ioo to which Wetherby 
had bound them. Besides the discussion on "civibus" and 

1 No. CCCIX. p. 351. 2 See the Certificate of the Governor, No. CCCXI. 

3 No. CCCIII. and CCCIX. p. 352. ■* No. CCCIII. p. 342- 

^ See note B. at the end of this section. 

8 He was to have the sword, hat, maces and other insignia carried before him to the 
honour of the King, as the Mayor, etc. Escheators' Accts. (P.R.O.), H. VI., p. 51. 

xcii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

" comitiunitati " mentioned above^ the case was argued on the question 
of the validity of the bond in the absence of the Mayor in the 
Flete Prison. The Abbot maintained^ that the Mayor was "his 
own master and unrestrained (sui juris et ad largum)." The citizens 
pleaded that he was in prison by covin of the Abbot's predecessor. 
Finally, in the Michaelmas Term the Judges gave a decision in 
favour of the City and the Abbot ceased from further annoyance. 

One more piece of litigation remained for the city to carry 
through. On 13 November, 1444, the citizens made a petition in 
the King's Court at Westminster to be excused their Fee Farm 
Rent of £li'i 8j, while the city liberties were forfeited and they 
could not collect the revenue from which they paid it. This petition 
is the source from which much of our knowledge of these later 
disturbances is derived." For some reason the matter was not then 
decided. Another document copied in the Book of Pleas*' is a record 
of the same petition considered at Michaelmas, 30 H. VI. (1451). 
The whole lengthy record is repeated, only changing the names 
of the Sheriffs and mentioning the restitution of the liberties which 
had occurred in the interval. After many adjournments it was 
decided at Easter, 1452, by Barons of both Benches with " legis 
periti " assisting, that the citizens should not be charged with their 
fee farm rent during the period of forfeiture, provided that they 
answered faithfully to the King for all the profits and issues during 
that time.' 

Note A. Wetherby's Supporters. See p. Ixxxix. n. 4. 

Besides the Earl of SufFolk and the Duke of Norfolk, Wetherby had 
won over two leading Norfolk men, Sir Thomas Tudenham of Oxburgh 
and John Heydon Esquire of Baconsthorpe, the overbearing proceedings 
of both of whom are frequently mentioned in the Paston Letters. 
Tudenham was Sheriff of Norfolk in 1431. Heydon was Recorder ot 
Norwich in 1433. He is said to have been removed from his office on 
the ground that he had betrayed the interests of the City in a dispute 
with the Prior. The charge is made in a document beginning " These 
be the Extorsions, Oppressions," etc., committed by these two persons. 
(No. CCCVI.). The document numbered CCCVII. contains similar 

1 p. Ixxvii. 2 No. CCCX. 

8 Book of Pleas .\vji5 — xx^., No. CCC. to CCCV. It is interesting to notice that the 
Fee Farm Rent is traced back in the King's Records to the Great Roll of 6 Richard I. 
that is to the date of Richard's Charter not to that of Henry II. 

* Book of Pleas Ixxxj - Ixxxv^. and Ixvj. ^ j^^f^. q^ p^ yxxa. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xciii. 

presentments. Both may be assigned to 1450, when the Duke of Norfolk 
was expected to come for the purpose of restoring order in Norfolk and 
these two were to be arraigned before a Commission of Oyer and 
Terminer. (Gairdner Paston Letters, 1896, pp. Ixiii. to Ixviii.) 

Note B. Norwich Fines in 1443. See p. xci. n. 5. 

On 14 March, after the rejection of the Norwich sureties, the Privy 
Council discussed how the seizure of the liberties would best be effected 
without damage to the King. On 12 July the Treasurer and Barons of 
the Exchequer were ordered to send the estreats of all who had been 
assessed to make any fines for any presentment to the Chief Baron and 
another who had been sent to Norwich. And the next day the Lords 
of the Council granted for victualling the " bastiel of Diepe " 1000 marks 
in money and 2000 marks also of money "that wol growe out of the 
fines at Norwich." (Nicolas. Proceedings of Privy Council, Vol. V. pp. 
242, 306). Perhaps the 1000 marks formed the "gret fyn" referred to in 
the Petition to the Earl of Suffolk (No. XLIII.). 

Note C. Gladman's Riot. See p. xcii. n. 5. 

Madox, Firma Burgi p. 291, has given the latter part of the Petition 
for remission of the Fee Farm Rent at considerable length. But he has 
not observed that he is quoting from both the petitions as if they were 
one. Though he quotes the passage from the later document mentioning 
the restitution of the Liberties in 26 Hen. VL (November 1447) he gives 
at the close a reference to the earlier document, 23 Hen. VL (Mich. 1444). 
In a trial of "King v. Corporation of London" Easter, 8 Ch. L, the 
Norwich riot is referred to as a case of " Riot not suppressed by day 
time in a walled town." (Sir G. C. Croke, Reports, p. 183). 

VII.— Permanent Settlement of the Constitution, 1447— 1482. 

I. Suggested alterations. 

The long series of the foregoing disturbances may furnish a 
graphic illustration of the difficulties of municipal progress in the 
15th century. But it is not easy, except in the case of the first 
of them, to trace any principles of municipal policy actuating 
either party of the disputants. Blomefield,' in introducing 
Wetherby's Contention, says, "There was a continual disturbance 

1 Hist. III. 144. 

xciv. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

between the court and the commons for several years." The 
evidence, however, scarcely bears out this description. The 
contending parties appear throughout to have been Wetherby and 
some adherents (at first in the city but afterwards chiefly outsiders) 
on the one side, and the great mass of the citizens, high and low, 
aldermen and commons, on the other. Again, a recent able writer^ 
has suggested as one cause of antagonism the rivalry of interest 
between the country wool producers and the city authorities who 
had the aulnage of all the wool. Whether this were so or not, it 
can hardly be said that such matters were at any time put forward 
in the controversy. We can only fall back on the view that these 
disputes arose out of party faction, which would never have grown 
to such serious demensions had it not been for the lawlessness of 
the times and the intervention of powerful and unscrupulous 
agitators from outside. From the point of view taken in this 
present historical sketch they are of interest for the special 
statements made from time to time in the course of the pleadings, 
and because towards the close of them we come to a question 
which directly touches the development of city government. 

We have seen^ that in 1438 the Privy Council advised the 
King that on restoring the liberties it would be well to reduce the 
number of the Aldermen. This was not done. The suggestion 
may have come from Wetherby through the Earl of Suffolk who 
had just given an Award in his favour. Two undated Petitions 
are among the city records which advocate some change in the 
position of the Aldermen. The first^ is addressed to the Bishop 
of Norwich and the Earl of Suffolk. It is a petition for the restitu- 
tion of the liberties. These were forfeited on 14 March, 1443. On 
14 September, 1444, the Earl of Suffolk was made Marquis. It 
falls therefore between these limits. This was the period of 
Wetherby's predominant influence, and the humble promise of 
submission to their guidance, expressed in another document,* 
bears the impress of his policy. The Petitioners observe that 
hitherto there have been four wards and each ward has chosen 
six Aldermen and certain Commoners of the counsell of the town. 
They pray that in future there should be 24 wards, that each by 
itself should choose an Alderman and three Commoners for the 
Common Counsell. They would forbid all " common officers, men 

' Mrs. Green, Town Life in the XVth Century II. 385. '' p. Ixxxvi. 

3 No. XLIII. 1 No. XLIV. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xcv. 

of law and attorneys of the law " from voting at elections. The 
election of the Mayor and Sheriffs should be confined to the Mayor, 
Aldermen, and the 72 Commoners chosen by the wards. " Every 
Aldirman shall have charge and governance under y^ Mair to kepe 
the goode rule and peas within his said ward and so shal every 
Aldirmans governance be knowen." 

The other petition^ was drawn up somewhat later, being 
addressed to the Marquis of Sufifolk. It was therefore between 
September, 1444, and November, 1447, when the liberties were 
restored. After some reference to the disputed jurisdiction between 
the citizens and the Prior (in which the Prior's claims against the 
citizens are again distinctly favoured) the Petitioners come, as 
before, to Wards and Aldermen. This time they suggest that the 
four wards might be divided into 12. There should also be 12 
Aldermen, each bound to answer for his own ward. Each ward 
should have constables and bedells. Each Alderman should hold 
a Wardmote once a year or oftener and " have power to chastise 
misdoers in his warde in manner and forme as it is used in y^ 
citee of London." Each ward with the assent of its Alderman 
should yearly choose four persons "for to be of the common 
semblee." These 48 on the day of the Dedication of the Church 
of the Holy Trinity^ should meet, when the Mayor and Aldermen 
should name two persons for Mayor, and the 48 should elect one 
of them. On the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin (September 8'h) 
the Mayor should choose one Sheriff and the Assembly the other. 

2. These two sets of Petitioners, though differing in certain 
details, were agreed on two main principles. They would both 
have the city, for elective and administrative purposes, subdivided 
into smaller districts than had hitherto existed. They would also 
break up, as far as possible, the united authority of the Aldermen 
and limit the magisterial authority of each Alderman to his own 
small district. In these directions their policy may be said to be 
one of decentralisation. The reasons given are the avoidance of 
tumultuous crowds at elections,' and the possibility of knowing 
the particular Alderman whose misgovernment was leading to 
disturbance. There is nothing revolutionary in these suggestions, 
for which the example of London is pleaded. As, however, it is 

1 No. XLV. 

2 The Dedication Festival of the Cathedral Church was on 24 September. 

^ The same complaint was made in London {Lib. Alb. Land. II. pp. 18, 19). 

xcvi. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

manifest that the petitioners belonged to Wetherby'si party and 
were ready to gain favour from his outside supporters by con- 
cessions which the citizens had hitherto opposed at a ruinous 
cost, we must presume that they expressed Wetherby's policy. 
It would seem to follow that the united action of the Aldermen 
had not been on his side. This may explain the settlement which 
finally resulted, and which did not carry out these suggestions. 

There can be little doubt that, in response to the second 
Petition, the Bishop and the Marquis had approved the proposed 
alterations and had obtained the consent of the King and his 
Council to their enactment. On such a supposition alone can we 
account for a remarkable document which is preserved amongst 
the city archives.^ It is in the form of Letters Patent to be 
issued by the King. It is fairly engrossed and appears to be a 
draft of a grant of Restitution, wanting nothing but the royal 
attestation which it manifestly never received. Its preamble 
describes the liberties as still in the King's hands and makes the 
interesting statement that they had been forfeited " in accordance 
with a Statute of King Edward III.," the same which had been 
produced against the citizens at Thetford in July, 1441.' The 
King grants restitution of liberties at the urgent request of Walter 
Bishop of Norwich and William de la Pole Marquis and Earl of 
Suffolk* " our most dear kinsman.'' The constitution as settled 
by King Henry V. is to be altered in the direction of the above 
petitions. There are to be 12 Wards which are specified by name. 
These very names occur in a Chamberlains' Account in the summer 
of 1446,° so that this part of the scheme had been already carried 
out, perhaps only for fiscal purposes. There were also to be 12 
Aldermen "placed in" the 12 wards. The number of Common 
Councillors is fixed at 48 and there are to be 24 Constables, two 
in each ward. As to elections, the Mayor was to be chosen on 
I September and enter on his office at Michaelmas. The out- 
going Mayor, Sheriffs and Aldermen were to choose two of 
themselves, of whom the Councillors and Ward Constables were 
to select one. The Sheriffs were to be elected on the same day 
as before, the Mayor and Aldermen choosing one, the Councillors 
and Constables the other. For the election of Common Councillors 

1 Wetherby himself died in 1445 ^"<1 '"'^s buried in the Austin Friars' Church. Bl. 
IV. 89. 2 No. XLVI. 8 See p. 325. 

■" Walter Lyhart had been chaplain to Lord Suffolk. 
•' 1st Chamberlains' Book, 24 and 25 H. VI. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xcvii, 

and Constables, each Alderman was to convene the citizens of 
his ward by themselves on the Monday after the Epiphany, when 
they were to choose four Councillors and two Constables in each 
ward, the names to be delivered to the Mayor by the Alderman 
within eight days. 

3. In November, 1447, the Liberties were restored. Why 
these reforms were not then directed it is not easy to see. The 
Writ of Restitution^ makes no mention of reforms at all. Perhaps 
the Privy Council were too much occupied in more important 
matters. Early in 1448 the Marquis of Suffolk was created a 
Duke, but very soon afterwards his popularity and influence began 
rapidly to decline. National affairs, especially in France, took a 
disastrous turn, and the chief blame was thrown on him. He was 
impeached, condemned, and banished at the beginning of 1450, 
and on his way to Flanders was seized and murdered, and his 
body was cast on to the Kentish shore. In October of that year 
Judge Yelverton, who belonged to a Norfolk family, and had been 
appointed Recorder of Norwich, when Heydon was removed in 
1433,^ was sent down to Norfolk' to hold Sessions of Oyer and 
Terminer there with the special mission of checking the notorious 
disturbances of the peace in the county. Heydon and Tudenham 
were indicted on numerous charges,* and, though their mischievous 
influence was not entirely annulled,^ the municipal affairs of the city 
were left undisturbed. Sessions were held at Norwich and other 
places in Norfolk throughout 1451," at many of which Yelverton 
sat as Judge, and, apparently, used his influence to protect the 
citizens of Norwich.' He was sitting at Norwich in September, 
and in March, 1452, he personally assisted in the final settlement 
of the relations between the Corporation and the Gild of S'- 
George. We may with some confidence, therefore, conclude that 
to his influence was due the form of the royal Charter of 1452, 
which formed the culminating act in the civic revolution inaugurated 
in 1404. 

4. The Charter of 30 Henry VI. 

The Charter^ which is dated 17 March, 1452, commences 

1 No. CCCXII. 

2 He acted for several years. Probably the office was suspended during the forfeiture. 
8 Paston Letters I., 157, 165, 178, etc. 

4 See Nos. CCCVI., CCCVII. ^ paston Letters I., 198. 

6 Paston Letters I., 123 ' Ibm., 211, 226. ^ No. XXI. 

xcviii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

with a grant of Pardon to the citizens for the offences by reason 
of which their liberties had been forfeited. They are then declared 
to be reinstated in all their former customs and privileges. The 
King next grants them what seems to be intended as a new 
privilege, the right for their Recorder to declare their liberties 
and customs by word of 7nouth before him or his justices as 
the Recorder of London does. Reference is then made to the 
judicial powers granted by the Charter of King Henry IV., 
empowering the citizens to hold sessions of Oyer and Terminer 
through the Mayor and four "probi homines" on matters cognisable 
by Justices of the Peace of Labourers and Artificers. Various 
doubts and differences of opinion having arisen as to " obscurity 
and interpretation of terms," the citizens had humbly petitioned 
that the King's will in this respect might be declared. The King, 
therefore, extends the Court so that it should include the Mayor, 
the Recorder, and all Aldermen who have served as Mayor, so 
long as they continue to hold the office of Alderman. After that 
the whole field of the jurisdiction of the Court is described in 
minute detail,^ concluding with power to enquire into every article 
which either then was, or thereafter should be cognisable by Justices 
of the Peace. Finally the King grants the citizens leave freely 
to appoint all sub-officials. 

Considering the character of the troubles which this charter 
was intended to compose, and comparing its contents with the 
remedies suggested in the petitions to Lord Suffolk, and in the 
draft of the rival charter which was so nearly issued, we cannot 
help observing that its omissions are as significant as its contents. 
Not a word is said about reducing the number of Aldermen or 
of dividing the wards into smaller districts, each with its own 
Alderman and Wardmote. This feature of tlie London system 
was not favoured by the party under whose influence the charter 
was drawn. Another curious omission may be noticed on a point 
which the petitioners had urged, viz., the definition of the 
boundaries of the County of the City. Possibly, acting under 
Judge Yelverton's advice, it was thought wiser for the citizens not 
to press the question at the risk of provoking fresh quarrels with 
their powerful neighbours. The old sweeping claims of suburban 
jurisdiction were still repeated. But another lOO years were to elapse 
before they could be translated into topographical definitions. 

1 This part of the Charter is the full Commission of the Peace as issued at that time. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. xcix. 

One more omission is perhaps tlie most significant of all. We 
remember how the charter of 1404 had granted the re-organised 
civic constitution to the "citizens and commonalty," and how the 
introduction of the latter term had been resented by the ruling 
body as hindering their authorised control over the city. In the 
Charter of 1452 the word "commonalty" never once occurs. The 
whole of it is addressed to " citizens " only. Even where the former 
grant as to holding Sessions of the Peace is referred to, it is 
spoken of as made to the " citizens," whereas it was really made 
to the "citizens and commonalty." 

From these various considerations we must conclude that the 
Charter was designed to strengthen and solidify the authority of 
the ruling body on the lines which they themselves desired. The 
change which the charter of 1380 had first inaugurated was now 
complete. There was no longer a community of equal citizens 
from which all authority was presumed to spring. Apart from 
that somewhat vague entity, there was now firmly established a 
strong governing body which, though in name elected by the 
whole body of freemen, yet (when once elected) sat for life and 
derived its administrative authority rather from the Crown than 
the Community. 

5. The Corporation and St. G corgis Gild. 

Ten days after the date of this charter, on 27 March, Judge 
Yelverton arranged a sort of union between the Corporate Body 
of the City and the Gild of S'' George. It was manifestly part 
of the general civic settlement eflfected at this time. Its exact 
intention and significance are not easily appreciated. Blomefieldi 
says, " By mediation of Judge Yelverton the disputes between the 
gild and the city were settled." The Indenture itself does not 
mention disputes. It only speaks of the agreement being made 
•' by the mediation and diligency of William Yelverton." The 
terms of the agreement with which we are here concerned are 
the following^: (l) that on the morrow of S'- George's day 
(24 April) the outgoing Mayor of the city, who would vacate 
his office the following June, should be appointed Alderman of 
the Gild for the year following his Mayoralty ; (2) that all City 
Aldermen should always be made Brethren of the Gild " without 

1 Hist. IV., 348. 

2 The Agreement is given in Norfolk Archaology III., 328. It will be considered 
with the history of the Company in our next volume. 

c. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

charge of the feast " ; (3) that every one elected to the Common 
Council of the City should be admitted a Brother " if it lyke him." 
It is significantly added that therefore " no man be chosen to 
the seid Common Council but such as are and seme for be able 
and sufficient of discrecion and good disposition"; (4) that if 
an Alderman or Common Councillor be removed from his office 
he should be discharged of the Gild, and vice versd, if any Brother 
was discharged of the Gild for any offence, notice should 
be given to the Mayor " in the Common Council of the said 
City," and the offender should forthwith forfeit his citizenship. 
Every person on admission to the Gild was to take an oath of 
obedience to the Alderman of the Gild, with the reservation that 
it bound him to nothing contrary to " the laws of God or of the 
land, or against the liberties, franchises, welfare, good peace and 
rest of the City." It is observable that although the City Aldermen 
were all to be members of the Gild, they are not mentioned as 
parties to the agreement. The Indenture is between the " Mayor, 
Sheriffs, and Commonalty of the Cite of Norwich on the one 
part, and the Aldermen and Brethren of the Gylde of the glorious 
Martyr George of the said Cite of the other part." It seems 
to be taken for granted that as between the City Aldermen and 
the Gild such an agreement was already pre-existing. This reminds 
us of the accusation brought against the " 24 " by the complainant 
Commons in 141 5 that they were interbound by oath, for mutual 
support, with the Company called the " Bachelerie." The same 
Society had been complained of by Wetherby's party at the time 
of the Gladman riots. This would imply the continuance of the 
confederate action, yet we hear no more of the Bachelery. Can 
it be that by Yelverton's influence it was absorbed in the Gild 
of S'- George, which was not only an authorised gild, but possessed 
a royal charter, and was therefore much more capable of affording 
to the ruling body the external strength which we must suppose 
was the object desired. Further investigation of the books of 
S'- George's Company may possibly explain more definitely what 
the promoters of this scheme hoped to effect. At present we can 
only conjecture that they may have had a two-fold object in 
view. First, the ruling confederacy would be strengthened by the 
formation of a closer union between themselves and the Common 
Councillors who would be drawn by the double bond of a 
religious oath and an increase of social dignity. The Common 
Councillors were no democratic body. They were bound to be 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. ci. 

substantial men and not craftsmen whose admission might be 
" to the dishonour of the City and the Gild of S'- George." ^ They 
would in many cases belong to the now rising middle class, and 
for the sake of the honour of membership of the Gild would not 
mind the burden of being called to serve as " feastmakers." Thus 
the union of the "Court" and the "Commons" would be secured 
by religious sanction and social fellowship. In the second place, 
this extended city aristocracy would be brought into union with 
the highest class in the adjoining county. The Gild already 
included many of the neighbouring nobility and gentry. It was 
now provided that henceforth no one dwelling out of the city should 
be admitted into the Gild but a knight or a squire, or a gentleman 
by birth or for some notable cause worthy of admission. 

One more change marks this period. In 1450 it had been 
ordered^ that every newly-admitted citizen should be entered as 
of some specified craft or occupation. As all the crafts were 
now under the ultimate control of the Mayor and Aldermen, this 
would tend to simplify the control of the governing body over the 
whole city. 

6. The Municipal Constitution at the close of the Fifteenth 
Century. Wards, Aldermanries, Constables. 

Nine years after the grant of King Henry's Charter Edward 
IV. became King. At the close of the first year of his reign, 
on 10 February, 1463, he granted the citizens a Charter of 
Confirmation,' reciting by Inspeximus all former Charters, with 
one exception, that of 5 Henry V. It is chiefly interesting for 
the method in which the charters are grouped. It begins with 
the Charter of Henry II., which is here recited for the first time 
since its original grant. It then takes that of 3 Richard 1 1., 
which includes all others up to that time. Then comes that of 
5 Henry IV., and finally that of 30 Henry VI. just described. 
Two days later, 12 February, he granted another charter,* 
re-enacting in his own name the provisions of the omitted charter 
of 5 Henry V, without mention of the name of its previous 
author. One important alteration is made. The franchise for 
city elections is extended from citizens dwelling in the city to 
those who are dwelling in the suburbs and hamlets. 

1 See No. CCXXVI. 

2 O.F.B., fol. \ii\d. Rye Freemen of Norwich, p. iii. 
8 No. XXII. ^ No. XXIII. 

cii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

With the exception of a Charter^ in November, 1482, granting 
the citizens two " Free Martes " or fairs, this closes the municipal 
history of the city during the fifteenth century. It remains to gather 
up from existing records some information as to the way in which 
the system of government now fairly completed was being worked 
during the second half of the century. This leads to the subject 
of Wards, Aldermanries, and Constables. We have noted that the 
abolition of the existing four old divisions and the substitution 
of 12 or 24 smaller Wards under separate administration as 
suggested by one party in the city was not carried out. The 
old four Wards continued to be the basis of all administrative 
organisation. But as under the Bailiffs the four great Leets were 
for certain purposes subdivided into 11 (and afterwards 10) subleet.s, 
so within this main organisation of the four great Wards, and 
subordinate to it, we find established in the latter part of the 
fifteenth century a subdivision into 12 smaller districts. They are 
not usually described by any descriptive title. But sometimes they 
are called '" Aldermanries," and occasionally, even so early as 1461, 
"12 wards." ^ The first of these two titles would seem to indicate 
that they were formed to suit the number of 24 Aldermen. But 
no such ordinance is to be found, nor is there anything at first 
to show any special connection between them and the Aldermen. 
Before they became definitely connected with the Aldermen the 
ward subdivisions are rather mentioned in connection with 
" Constables," officials who figure prominently about this time in 
a manner which raises a suspicion that they were being put forward 
as a counterpoise to the rising power of the Aldermen. In addition 
to these points of enquiry we have also to consider whether these 
ward subdivisions were adaptations of the former set of subleets 
or a new and independent institution. To appreciate our evidence 
we must go back to the early part of the century. 

7. By the Composition of 141 5 the 60 Common Councillors, 
though chosen by the freemen of the four great Wards, were 
distributed according to the then existing subdivisions, which were 
the 10 subleets as named in the Leet Roll of 1391.^ The "24" 
had no connection with the subdivisions, but were to be chosen 
as before, six for each great Ward. When, by the Charter of 
1417, the 24 have the name "Aldermen" granted to them, nothing 
is said about any change in their mode of election. As to 

1 No. XXIV. 2 No. CCXXV. a No. XLVIII. i, p. 130. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. ciii. 

Constables, in 141 5 there were 16, eight of whom were to be elected 
by the Mayor and the Twenty-Four, and the other eight by the 
Common Councillors. Now, in 1414, the Assembly decided that 
a Common Assembly should include "all kinds of Constables." ^ 
No other constables are met with except these 16 (afterwards 24). 
We are led to ask, Who were they ? There seems no reason to 
doubt that they were the successors of the Leet Constables, the 
officers of a Hundred ordered first by the Royal Writ of 1252, 
afterwards by the Statute of Winchester in 1285." From 1252 
till 1285 Norwich seems to have had but one Constable (see p. 211, 
n. i), but it must have obeyed the later order by having four, one 
for each Leet. Their duties were to keep the peace and to see to 
the efficiency of the Militia organisation. We find such a Leet 
Constable in the Leet Roll of 1288,^ and wc gather from the same 
Roll that each of the subleets, then 11 in number, had a 
sub-constable. They were popular officers chosen at the Leet 
Courts. In the next century we meet with them again, in 1355, 
in some Militia Rolls.* The subleets were then reduced to 10, and 
instead of sub-constables they each had a Constable.^ It must have 
been these Leet Constables who are spoken of in the (Composition of 
141 5. But in that case, how came there to be 16, seeing that the old 
10 subleets continued to exist for that purpose down to, at least, 
1698?* A reasonable explanation may be suggested. The change 
was probably due to the County organisation introduced in 1404. 
The new Sheriffs were authorised at once to hold their tourns. 
They summoned a court with a jury from each great leet or ward, 
and, it would seem, required four constables to act for each. In 
142 1, on 3 May,' 16 constables were chosen in the Assembly, four 
each for Conesford, Mancroft, Wymer, and Ultra Aquam. The 
divisions are here neither called leets or wards, but on 19 March the 
same year two constables had been chosen for the leet of Wymer. 
On 3 May, 1423,' when 16 were again chosen, we find traces of 
the subleets still being recognised, for two of the constables are 
chosen for Conesford, two for Berstrete, four for Mancroft, four for 

1 No. CXCIII. 

■'■ The Writ of 1252 ordered a Chief Constable in each Hundred. The Statute of 
1285 ordered two Constables. » p. 357, "■ 4- ■* P- 39i, etc. 

3 On the possible connection of this change with the need for better organisation of 
the local Militia, see preface to " MiUtia," Introduction, p. cxhv. 

c Leet Jurisd. in Norwich, p. 100. 

' Assembly Roll, 3 May, 9 Hen. V. » No. CCIH. 

civ. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Wymer, two for Coselanye, and two for Fibrigge. On 14 July the 
previous year the old system and the new are curiously combined.^ 
A general call was made on the citizens to clean the river, and " the 
constables of each ward, each in his own leet, are to warn all 
persons, etc." Here a "leef' seems to mean a subdivision of a 
■' ward" as in the entry last quoted. We may easily detect what 
was being done. The subleets were being utilised where possible. 
In each of the two Wards of Conesford and Ultra Aquam there 
were two subleets/ each returning one constable. Each of these 
subleets was now called upon to return two instead of one, or 
perhaps more probably the Assembly named two instead of one 
for each subleet, and the proper number of four for each of these 
two wards was thus obtained. But Mancroft and Wymer Wards 
had each of them three subleets, an awkward number for the 
purpose. Four constables were therefore chosen for each of these 
two wards as a whole, its subleets being ignored. 

8. The systematic division of the four wards into 12 sub- 
divisions, three to each ward, seems, as far as our records show, 
to have coincided with the period when the liberties were forfeited 
between 1443 and 1447. We have already noticed the mention 
of such an arrangement in 12 subdivisions (though the Wards are 
not there noticed) in a Chamberlain's Account of 1446. The most 
detailed statement is in a document of probably the year 1453" 
connected with the assessment of a Tenth and Fifteenth. " The 
City of Norwich," it says, "is quadripartite in four wards." Then a 
detailed account is given of each ward as subdivided into three 
"Aldermanries." Another list of 12 Aldermanries, apparently of 
the year 145 1, is also found referred to in a document of 1481.^ 
It is curious that the list of 145 1 (if correctly assigned to that 
date) contains the names which were afterwards permanently 
attached to the subdivisions, whereas several later lists vary 
considerably in some of the names. As late as 1481, and even 
1496, the subdivisions are called "Aldermanries,"* but the title 
" wards " kept its ground, the old four wards being distinguished 
as the "four Great Wards," and the 12 as the "12 Petty Wards." 

1 No. CCI. 

^ The two subleets of Conesford were Conesford and Berstrete, those of Ultra 
Aquam were Coslanye and Fibrigge. 

* 0. F. B. fol. clx. (more correctly cxl.). An abstract is given in No. XLVIII. 5, 
See also No. CCXIX. " No. XLVIII. 4. 

■' Lib. Alb. Norm, clxxvii., No. XLVIII. ; No. CCXXXII. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cv. 

About the same time as the subdivisions were thus systemati- 
cally organised the Constables who presided over them as military 
officials and guardians of order' were, as already remarked, advanced 
to a position of some importance in addition to their being included 
as ex officio members in a common assembly. In the Mayoralty 
of William Hempstead,^ on the restitution of the liberties in 
November, 1447, a change was made in the mode of electing the 
Mayor and Sheriffs. Instead of all citizens, resident and willing 
to attend, nominating two ■ persons for Mayor, it was ordered that 
this should be done by the 60 Common Councillors and the 24 
Ward Constables. So also these two bodies in 1456 chose one 
Sheriff, the Mayor and Aldermen choosing the other.' On 29 
April, 1456, it was discussed whether this system should continue 
and it was decided that it should.* But after 8 September, 1462, 
we find the second Sheriff chosen by the Commoners only, and 
there is no further mention of Constables assisting in elections.^ 
They are, however, associated with the Councillors in 1466 in 
advising as to the perplexing question of the seizure of John 
Paston's house and goods." On I May, 1462, for the election of 
Mayor, the old system was revived in consequence of the Charter 
of I Edward IV. (12 February). From this time the Constables 
ceased to be the principal officials of their districts' and became 
subordinate to the Aldermen. This transference of authority had 
taken place before the end of the century as a comparison of two 
records may show. In 1422 the cleansing of the river had been 
committed to the supervision of the Constables of the Wards and 
Leets.^ In 1496 the similar work of cleansing the streets is 
entrusted to certain citizens in each Aldermanry "with the Atderman 
of the Ward." After this century the Constables drop into an 
inferior position as police officers under the control of the city 
magistracy. The Ward Aldermen become the intermediaries 
between the central authority and the smaller administrative 
divisions. But it is necessary to remember, as has already been 
more than once remarked, that the Norwich Alderman never took 
the position occupied by a London Alderman in respect of his 
"Aldermanry." When, after the Reformation, the Corporation 

1 See the Constables' Charge, No. XLVII. 7. ^ No. CCXVIII. 

8 Assembly, 8 September, 35 H. VI. ' No. CCXXI. 


' In Lynn the corresponding divisions were called " Constabularies" till 1835. 

8 See No. CCI. 

cvi. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

became trustees of many charitable endowments, one of the two 
Aldermen of a small Ward administered those specially belonging 
to his Ward. Any requisite local supervision of a special kind 
was committed to them. But they held no separate courts in 
their Wards. The corrective jurisdiction was always exercised by 
the whole body of Aldermen for the whole city.^ 

Duties of the Municipal Officials in the Fifteenth Century. 

1. We may close our review of this period by a brief reference to 
the series of oaths administered to the various city ofBcials, as recorded 
in the Norwich Liber Aldus} They may be compared with the similar 
series preserved in the Liber Albus of the City of London. They enable us 
to ascertain the principal duties which each official was expected to 
perform. They are entered in rather a confused way with several 
alterations of various dates. Blomefield/ therefore, who gives them in 
full, assigns them to the close of the is'"" or beginning of the i6* 
centuries. It is clear, however, from the position assigned to the Con- 
stables, together with the absence of any Alderman's oath, the language 
of the Sheriff's oath, and other indications, that their general features are 
those of the city constitution as it stood not later than the Charter of 

It is noticeable that out of some 16 official oaths, only two are 
identical with the similar oaths administered in London. These two 
are an oath assigned to the Mayor^ and the oath of the Common Coun- 
cillors.' The rest differ so much in language and even in form that they 
cannot be called copies of the London oaths. This is remarkable 
considering how largely the Norwich constitution, as remodelled in the 
1 5''' century, was based on the practice of London. 

2. The legislative body in Norwich, the Common Assembly, was 
composed of the Mayor, Sheriffs, Aldermen and Common Councillors. 
It is only in the case of the Common Councillors that the duties of the 
deliberative Assembly are mentioned. The Councillors [i]° are to swear 
to be true to the King, to attend when summoned to the common 
counsel of the city, and not to leave till the Mayor and his brethren 
(the Aldermen) depart. Connected chiefly with the Assembly were two 
officials, one, the Common Speaker, [2] who is to act faithfully in the 

1 The Municipal Commissioners, 1834 (Report IV. 2463) say, "Aldermen who have 
not passed the chair are Justices for their own Ward only. Two different opinions of 
Judges have been given as to whether for their own Great or Small Ward. In fact they 
neva- act at all." 2 No. XLVII. 8/^(^.111.183—191. 

^ Lib. Alb. London, p. 306. ^ Ibm., p. 41. 

" These are the numbers of the Oaths as given in No. XLVII. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cvii. 

Assemblies as the mouthpiece of the Common Councillors, and also at 
elections of Mayors and Sheriffs, in which he is not to hinder the Commons 
of their free election. This seems suggested by the disastrous election 
of 1=' May, 1433. The other was the Common Clerk [3] whose duty it 
was to record the business of the Assembly, to draw up the warrants 
authorised by it, and, though this is not specified, to superintend the 
enrolment of deeds and recognisances in the City Court Roll. He also 
in some way acted as Clerk of the Peace and the Escheatry. In short, 
it would seem that he had to record the business of the Assembly, the 
Sessions Court and the Mayor's Court, and any business that devolved 
on the Mayor as King's Escheator. 

3. For governing and administrative purposes the city officials were 
grouped in three departments under (A) the Mayor, (B) the Sheriffs, and 
(C) the Treasurers or Chamberlains. 

(A) I. The Mayor. — He was supreme in all departments. But the 
special view of his office taken in his oath [4] is that of a Chief Magistrate 
responsible for maintaining the laws and liberties of the city, keeping the 
general peace and order, carrying out regulations with regard to food 
for the good of the community, correcting and redressing defaults, and 
seeing that all alike received equal justice. He was further by virtue of 
his office the King's Escheator [5] and was bound to protect the King 
in his rights and reveal to him or his Council any danger of loss or 
dishonour. It is curious that two oaths are given in the Norwich series, 
one relating simply to the Mayor's duty to the Community, the other 
emphasizing first his duty to the King. The latter is headed "The 
Mayor's Charge for the Escheatry." It is this which occurs also in the 
London Liber Albus, where it is simply called "The Oath of the Mayor." 
As the Mayor of Norwich had to take an oath to a deputy of the King 
it is manifest that the longer form must have been then used. Perhaps 
the shorter oath was also taken in the Assembly. 

(A) 2. The Aldermen. — The Aldermen were the Mayor's immediate 
assistants. It is in their case, as already noticed, that the principal 
difference lies between the municipal systems of London and Norwich. 
In the London Alderman's oath his duties are specially connected with 
the governance of his own Ward. In the Norwich series there is no 
Alderman's oath entered. They are referred to in the other oaths only 
as the Mayor's brethren, or his fellows in the government of the city. 
The oath used at this time must have been that which formed part of 
the Tripartite Indenture of 1424 which was addressed to the Mayor and 
the body of Aldermen, and expressed the duty of obedience to the Mayor 
and to the will of the majority of the Aldermen. In relation to the rest 
of the Community they were now regarded as a distinct governing 

cviii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

(A) 3. The Mayor's ministers are here called the Mayor's Sergeants, 
[6] who were bound to serve him truly. Their duties largely consisted 
in overseeing the markets of all kinds of victuals and seeing that all the 
regulations were being carried out. They acted also as the Mayor's 
summoning officers to the Common Councillors and others. 

(A) 4. The Ward Constables [7] at this period are also regarded 
as specially subordinate to the Mayor. He charges them on behalf of 
the King to see to the peace and order of their respective wards, to stop 
all unlawful congregations, to arrest all offenders or suspicious persons, 
to see to the keeping of watch and ward and to execute all the precepts 
of the Mayor. 

(A) 5. The Recorder [8]. — This official was the legal adviser of 
the Mayor and Aldermen in carrying out their magisterial duties, and 
was ex officio a Justice of the Peace. He was to give good counsel to the 
Mayor and Aldermen "in ilse and execution of governance of common 
right "^ in the offices of Mayoralty, of Justice of the Peace and of the 

(B) I. The Sheriffs [9] were, under the Mayor, the heads of the 
judicial department of city administration, and in that respect were 
specially regarded as officers of the King. They served the King's 
writs as well as the Mayor's warrants. They were also responsible for 
the payment of the fee farm rent. They are enjoined to be impartial 
in the judgments and execution of the verdicts of their courts, and great 
stress is laid on the duty of dealing fairly in appointing juries at their 
tourns. This part of the oath is almost identical with a resolution passed 
in the Assembly in 1422.^ It is probable that much of the judicial 
business of the Sheriffs here indicated passed away from them to the 
Courts of Quarter Sessions after i Edward IV. (1461). 

(B) 2. The Under Sheriff [10] acted as the Sheriff's clerk, making 
entries, records and returns. 

(B) 3. The Sheriff's Sergeants [11] executed plaints or received 
them to present to the Court, and served distresses and warrants. They 
were bound to deal fairly in summoning juries, and prohibited from 
making up disputes out of court. 

(B) 4. The Attornies [12] in the Sheriff's Court were sworn officials, 
or rather ministers, of the Court. They were bound to give true counsel 
to clients, to be obedient to the Sheriffs and the Court and to attend all 
Courts of Oyer and Terminer, of Gaol Delivery and of Quarter Sessions.' 

' This phrase is taken from the Composition of 1415. See p. loi. 

2 p. 278. 

" The Oath in which this title is used is in a later hand than some others, perhaps of 
the time of Hen. VIII. It is curious that the title is not found in the Sessions Books till 
very much later. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cix. 

After 1520 a Steward was appointed to be the legal adviser to the 
Sheriffs, as the Recorder was to the Mayor. The oaths are prior to this 

(C) I. The Treasurers [13], or Chamberlains} — The Chamberlain 
was the head of the city business which dealt with the common property 
and with the receipts and expenses of the Community as distinct from 
the income which went to the Sheriffs towards the payment of the fee 
farm rent. They were charged to be true to the Community, to make 
search twice a quarter with the supervisors, or at least, with the Clerk or 
Common Sergeant, to enter the week's cost every Saturday and the 
same day to pay all workpeople in money, not in goods. 

2. The Common Sergeant [14] was the Chamberlain's minister in 
collecting rents and distraining ' defaulting tenants at the end of every 

(D). The Citizens [15]. — Every citizen on admission was bound by 
a solemn oath which was addressed to the Mayor, Sheriffs and Common 
Council. He was to maintain the liberties of the city, to abstain from 
fraudulent dealing in paying tolls and customs, to be " buxom " to the 
Mayor and other governors of the City, to pay taxes and serve offices 
as laid upon him. 

(E). Two other oaths remain. The Coroners [16] though elected in 
the Assembly, were still officers of the King as much as of the Com- 
munity. Besides inquests on persons found dead, appeals, exigents and 
outlawries are mentioned as still coming before them. In all cases, the 
records they made were to be delivered to the Chamberlains, perhaps 
because some of the fees or fines went to the Community. 

The Masters of Crafts. — These were to rule their various crafts 
according to the city by-laws. They were subordinate to the Mayor, but 
hardly count as city officials. Their office belongs to the subject of city 

VIII.— Subsequent History, 1482 to 1835. 

I. The City and the Priory. 

The constitution of the Government of the City was now 
practically established in the form which was preserved till the 
Municipal Boroughs Reform Act of 1835. The chief difficulties 
which remained to be solved were the relations of the citizens 
with the Prior in respect of his exempt jurisdiction, and the 

1 There was some distinction in early times between these officials (see p. 73), but at 
this time they seem to be identical. 

ex. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

definition of the boundaries of the lands over which they should 
exercise jurisdiction as administrators of a County. 

King Henry VII. issued only one Charter' to the citizens, and 
that not until his nineteenth year (1504). It is only a Charter 
of Confirmation. It recites, by Inspeximus, {a) the Charter of 
10 February, i Edward IV.; (b) that of 12 February i E. IV.; 
(c) that of 22 E. IV., and then follows the King's own confirma- 
tion of all the privileges and liberties therein included. 

King Henry VIII. granted three Charters, and they all 
relate to the settlement of the disputes between the citizens and 
the Prior. After many complaints^ on both sides, and some 
attempts at mediation, the matter was at last taken in hand 
about 1517 by Cardinal Wolsey in conjunction with other 
influential men. Even then it took several years before a final 
agreement was established. A Composition'' was at length agreed 
to on 26 August, 1524, and signed in the Assembly on 2 September. 
The general result was that the citizens resigned all claim to 
jurisdiction within the Priory walls, and, on tiie other hand, the 
Prior resigned all his claim to jurisdiction outside those walls. So 
also the citizens resigned their right to commonage and pasturage 
on the Prior's land at Eton and Lakenham (as given them by the 
Fine of 1205, when the Prior had license to enclose 40 acres of 
land), and in return the Prior and Convent agreed to allow the 
citizens to enclose 80 acres of land. On 24 October the King 
granted a Charter* confirming this Composition in respect of the 
80 acres of land, and on i June, 1525, he granted a further Charter,^ 
which sanctioned the arrangement with regard to the jurisdiction 
to be exercised by each party. 

In this Charter were added two clauses unconnected with the 
Prior. One directs the procedure to be followed in case of the 
death or removal of a Mayor or Sheriff during his year of office. 
The other confirms the magisterial authority of the Recorder, 
Steward, and other Justices of the Peace. Perhaps this clause 
was obtained because the Steward was a new official recently 
appointed in 1520 to be Judge in the SheriiT's Court. 

King Henry's third Charter" was necessitated by the progress 
of the Reformation. On Trinity Sunday, 1538, the Prior and 

1 No. XXV. 2 See Blomefield, Hist. III., 175-8. 

^ It is printed in Town Close Eviiiences, 50-64 ; Blomefield III., 195, etc. 

" No. XXVI. = No. XXVII. e No. XXVIII. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cxi. 

Convent of the Cathedral Monastery had been converted into the 
Dean and Chapter. By an order of 28 May, 1528, the Priory 
Precinct had been severed from the County of Norfolk and the 
Hundred of Blofield, and made parcel of the City of Norwich, 
saving the rights within the walls guaranteed to the Prior and 
Monks by the Composition of 1524. The new Dean and Chapter 
were now made parties to the former arrangements made by the 
Prior and Convent. This was authorised by Royal Charter on 
6 April, 1539, and on 10 April an Indenture was signed between 
the parties specifying certain mutual undertakings by way of 
carrying out the intention of the Composition. 

The only Charter granted by King Edward VI.^ was occasioned 
by the occurrence of Kett's Rebellion in 1549, by reason of which 
the City had suffered much damage, and its municipal business 
had been interrupted. When Lord Surrey came to suppress the 
rebellion he took the city into his own hands as the King's 
Commissioner, and it was afterwards necessary to have their charter 
of liberties renewed. He left Norwich on 29 August," and on 
14 November a Charter of Confirmation was granted, reciting the 
Charters of 19 Henry VH. and 17 and 30 Henry VHI. The 
citizens were then authorised to elect two Sheriffs and resume the 
exercise of their other liberties. 

2. Definition of the Boundaries of the County of the City. 

The suppression of the Religious Houses and the confiscation 
of their property which accompanied the Reformation must have 
helped to facilitate the settlement of the only other remaining 
difficulty which had beset the Corporation. This was the question 
of suburban jurisdiction. Their rivals, who claimed it, were 
exclusively ecclesiastics.'' As soon as they were removed and 
the unsettlement of Kett's Rebellion had passed away, the citizens 
seem to have set themselves to get the extensive boundaries 
suggested by the Charter of King Henry IV. turned into reality. 
Before King Edward died in July, 1553, a still existing document^ 
had been drawn up defining the boundaries of the County of the 
City. It was not executed at that time. But not very long 

1 No. XXIX. " Neville De Furoribus Nor/., p. 154.. 

8 It is perhaps not altogether unnecessary to observe that at no time had religious 
controversy any share in these disputes. The sole question at issue was as to which of 
the disputants should enjoy the profits of jurisdiction over the debated lands. 

* Case 9, shelf i. 

cxii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

afterwards, on i April, 1556, a Royal Charter^ was granted in the 
joint names of Philip and Mary, by which these boundaries were 
minutely and distinctly traced out. It will suffice here to say that 
the ample language of the original Charter was more than realised. 
All the disputed hamlets and tiie whole of the district surrounding 
the city for a mile or more in every direction were henceforth 
separated from the County of Norfolk and included within the 
County of the City of Norwich. Thus a long-standing occasion of 
controversy was at last removed. 

3. The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. 

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth nothing occurred of 
municipal interest worthy of notice in the present sketch. In the 
reign of King, James I. it appears that disturbances had arisen at 
the election of various officials. In 1619, therefore, a Royal Order,^ 
by advice of the Privy Council, was made directing certain alterations 
in tiie election of Mayors and Aldermen. For the future the new 
Mayor was always to be the senior Alderman who had not yet 
served. This was the practise in the City of London, and two 
Justices of Assize, before whom the matter had been brought, had 
so interpreted the Charters of Norwich. For two years following 
some of the leading citizens, not unreasonably, resented this order 
as an interference with their proper liberties. But they were bound 
over, under heavy penalties by the Privy Council, to cease from their 
action, as being " disturbers of orders and contemners of the King's 
directions," and in 162 1 the Assembly submitted. At the same time 
they agreed that when an Alderman was to be elected, instead 
of the freemen of the Ward electing a new one, the Mayor and 
Aldermen should propose to the citizens of the Ward four persons 
among those who had served as Sheriffs, and the citizens should 
" choose those of most ancient rank." This Order limited the ruling 
body exclusively to tliose who were capable of holding the 
burdensome office of Sheriff, and, even then, the appointments 
merely went by seniority. Popular selection was almost eliminated. 
By the Charter of King Charles II., 42 years later, a return was 
made to the earlier and freer custom. 

The growing controversy between the King and the Parliament, 

1 No. XXX. On p. 45 the date is given by error as 6 July. At the close of the 
Charter (p. 47) "in the second year of our reigns " should be "second and third year," 
i.e., the third year of Mary, second of Philip and Mary. 

2 Blomefield III., 368. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cxiii. 

which marked the reign of King Charles I., caused much party- 
feeling in Norwich as elsewhere. The latter party was notoriously 
strong throughout the Eastern Counties. On 2 March, 1642, a 
Royalist Mayor, William Gostlin, was seized by the Parliamentarian 
Major-General of the Eastern Association, and carried prisoner to 
Cambridge.'^ Royalist Aldermen were next removed, and all 
freedom of election was practically superseded. In 1649 a 
recalcitrant Mayor, John Utting, was ordered up to London, and 
the " Commons assembled in Parliament," without going through 
the form of seizing the liberties of the city into their hands, 
appointed Christopher Baret in his place, which caused a somewhat 
serious riot in the city. Nothing further occurred during the 

4. On the restoration of King Charles II., in 1660, the 
citizens made haste to ingratiate themselves with their Sovereign 
by an act of generosity, which perhaps they surmised would 
otherwise be demanded for a less dignified reason. The Parlia- 
mentary Government had persuaded them (we can hardly think 
of their own free will) to purchase at a capital sum their total 
fee farm rent of ;£^I32 i8.r. 3^.^ They might feel sure that the 
restored King's Exchequer would not recognise this bargain, and 
so they at once cancelled the instrument and added a gift of 
;£'i,000 to the King. On October 13th they were authorised by 
the Council to act on their former Charters. But the following 
year they petitioned for a new Charter, which was promised. In 
1662, under instructions issued through a general Act of Parlia- 
ment, they removed four Cromwellian Aldermen, with consent of 
a Royal Commission, and replaced them by four others. The 
Charter^ was granted on 26 June, 1663. It is noticeable for the 
difference between its form and that of the older Charters. It does 
not recite the former Charters and add the King's confirmation 
of the grants contained in them. It makes no special mention of 
any previous Charter. Commencing with an acknowledgment that 
the City of Norwich is "an ancient populous City and County of 
itself forrnerly incorporated by the name of the Mayor, Sheriffs, 
Citizens and Commonalty," and had, as such, enjoyed many 
privileges, the King confirmed to the citizens all their liberties and 
granted to them and their successors the free use of them all in 

1 Blomefield III., 383. « Blomefield III. 403. Court Book. 

8 No, XXXI. 

cxiv. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

as ample a manner as heretofore. Then (departing in this from 
ancient custom) the King, " for the better and more certain use 
and exercise of such liberties," constituted by name a Mayor, 23 
Aldermen, a Recorder, a Steward, and a Common Clerk to exercise 
their several offices, as in time past. After this the powers of 
Justices of the Peace are granted as before, and it is added that 
an Alderman who has not been Mayor shall be Justice of the 
Peace "in that ward only for which he was chosen Alderman." It 
would appear from this clause that this power was now newly 
given. As we have seen, it was rarely, if ever, exercised. Some 
directions are given as to the election of Sherififs and Aldermen, 
and also powers are granted for the regulation of Trade Companies. 
The Mayor and three Justices are authorised to hold a Court of 
Equity, and other City Courts are also mentioned. 

The language of this Charter carries still further the theory 
which we marked in the Charter of 1404, and still more in that 
of 1453, that the authority of the rulers of the city was held to be 
derived from the Crown and not, as in older times, from the 
Community. The use of the official title is very curious for its 
variations. Thus if a man elected on the Common Council refuse 
to take the required^ oaths and at the next Assembly to show 
good reason " to be allowed by the Mayor, Sheriffs, Aldermen and 
Common Council of the City or the majority of them, he shall be 
compelled to pay such fines for his contempt as the Mayor, 
Sheriffs, Citizens and Commonalty, or the major part of them, shall 
set upon him." Again, if a man refuse to serve as Alderman or 
absent himself too long without due excuse, he is to be fined by 
the "Mayor, Sheriffs, Aldermen and Common Council, or the 
majority of them, in some public Assembly." With regard to the 
companies and trades, the " Mayor, Sheriffs, Citizens and Com- 
monalty, and the major part of them, with the consent of the 
Common Council, at any public Assembly, may make Laws," etc. 
Finally, as in the earlier Charters, the Sheriffs may hold their 
Court of Pleas "in the name of the Mayor, Sheriffs, Citizens and 
Commonalty." There seems to be only one explanation of these 
changes of expression. The body which deliberates and acts in 
a public Assembly is the personal gathering of Mayor, Sheriffs, 
Aldermen and Common Councillors. " Mayor, Sheriffs, Citizens 
and Commonalty" is a mere expression denoting the Corporate 

' i.e. required by law on admission to an office. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cxv. 

Unit (" unum corpus ") which has received the chartered authority. 
It fines offenders through the Court of Aldermen ; it holds a Court 
of Pleas through its Sheriffs. In neither case does the Common 
Council, the supposed representation of the Commonalty, take any 
part in its action. And when it makes orders and regulations 
(again evidently through the Court of Aldermen) it lays them in 
an Assembly before the Common Council as a body distinct from 
itself. So entirely had the " Community," as apart from the ruling 
body, ceased to have any official authority. 

S. The fate which subsequently befell this Charter was similar 
to that which many other towns experienced. In 1682, under 
pressure from the King, the citizens were persuaded, with great 
reluctcuice, to surrender* it to the King and receive a new one in 
its place. The new Charter^ arrived on April lO* 1683, and by 
it the King acquired the right to dismiss any official he pleased. 
Under this authority King James II., in 1687, ejected 19 Common 
Councillors and 10 Aldermen and put in nominees of his own.' 
But the following year the King, alarmed at the feeling aroused 
by his tyrannical proceedings, ordered the restoration to all towns 
of the Charters under which they had been governed in 1679. 
The Charter of 1663 was therefore restored to the citizens of 
Norwich and constituted their title to self-government down to 


After this very little of importance happened until 1729, when 
an Act of Parliament^ was passed for the better regulation of 
Elections in the City of Norwich. Besides directions as to previous 
residence of voters and taking the oaths, a remarkable provision 
was made. In the election of the 60 Common Councillors it was 
ordered that no more than three should be elected by the general 
body of freemen in each great ward. Within a given time after- 
wards these three in each ward were themselves to choose* the 
remaining number assigned to that ward. The numbers continued 
to be as in 1415, so that the three "nominees'" (as they were 
called) in Conesford and Over the Water chose nine others, the 
three in Mancroft chose 13 more, and the three in Wymer 17 
besides themselves. Great efforts were made to secure the three 
nominees for one party or another, and the Report of the Municipal 

1 Bl. III. 417. 2 ]\fo. XXXir. Now in glass case in Muniment Room. 

8 Blomefield III. 423, gives the names. ■* 3 G. II. c. 8. 

^ For a similar mode of election in 1414 see p. 274. 

cxvi. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Commissioners of 1834 draws attention to the bribery and 
corruption which resulted from the practise. 

In 1730 an important change was made in the mode of holding 
an Assembly. Hitherto all the members had sat together. Now 
the Aldermen began to sit in the Court or Aldermen's Chamber ; 
the Common Councillors sat in the Council Chamber. The two 
Chambers communicated by writing and afterwards met and 
passed resolutions. This continued till 1835.^ 

6. The Municipal Reform Act of 1835. 

A few words will suffice to describe in Norwich the effect of 
this Act which imposed a new constitution on all the cities and 
boroughs of the kingdom. Norwich retained its County status 
with one Sheriff instead of two. Its Aldermen lost their magisterial 
authority and their predominance as a separate estate. Their 
number was reduced from 24 to 16. The number of Common 
Councillors was also reduced from 60 to 48. In the organisation 
of municipal districts the 12 small Wards were discarded ; the 
four great Wards were made into eight, their ancient names being 
displaced and the numbers one to eight substituted. A bench of 
specially commissioned Magistrates holding quarter and petty 
sessions replaced the Court of Sessions and the Court of Aldermen. 
The franchise was extended from the Freemen (who numbered 
3,460 in a population of 61,096^) to all rate-paying inhabitants. 

7. Redistribution of the Wards in 1892. 

During the 19* century a great change passed over the life 
of the City. Its bounds within the old walls became too small, 
and the population extended more and more into the suburban 
districts. A re-arrangement of its administrative divisions became 
imperatively necessary. This was carried out in 1892. The eight 
wards were altered into 16, containing with the hamlets a total 
population of over 100,000. As these electoral divisions were, as 
far as possible, based upon equality of population, we may conclude 
this sketch of the municipal history of Norwich with the not 
inappropriate observation that each of the 16 divisions of 1892 
contained probably about the same number of inhabitants as the 
whole city did when it commenced its independent municipal life 
under the charter of Richard I. just 700 years before. 

^ Mun. Comm. Rep. IV. 2462. * Including the outlying hamlets. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cxvii. 

[The remaining Sections of the Introduction (IX. to XIII.) contain 
special explanatory notices of some of the principal series of Documents 
or Departments of Administration]. 

IX.— The Royal Charters. 

The significance and effect of the various Charters granted from time 
to time by successive Sovereigns to the citizens have been already 
described in the foregoing " Historical Sketch." It will be sufficient, 
therefore, here to preface them with a few general remarks. 

1. The Charter of Henry II.i (c. 1158) stands by itself. It belongs 
to the past rather than the future. It only guarantees to the burgesses 
the customary liberties which, in common with numerous other burghs, 
they had long enjoyed. It neither specifies their exact character nor adds 
any new ones. It is not even recited in any subsequent Charter till 
I Edward IV. 

2. The Charter of 5 Richard I.^ (1194) laid the first foundation of 
municipal self-government. By it the internal administration of the city 
was committed to the " communitas/' or general body of citizens, on 
payment of a fee farm rent of ;^io8. The acquisition of police jurisdic- 
tion,' coincident with the substitution of Bailiffs for a Reeve (c. 1223), 
may be regarded as a complement of Richard's grant, for no other 
authority exists. All the subsequent Charters through the 13* and 14"' 
centuries either merely confirmed existing liberties or enlarged and 
extended them without altering the form of the municipal constitution. 

3. The Charter of 5 Henry IV.^ (1404) inaugurated a new era. 
By it and the supplementary Charters of 5 Henry V.^ and 30 Henry VI." 
a new constitution was established in the city. It not only became a 
County of itself with the addition of a new and superior jurisdiction. 
There was also established an official and distinct magistracy, or govern- 
ing body, in whose hands, and not any longer in those of the whole 
community, the control and administration of the city rested. Even in 
deliberation the mass of the citizens thenceforth acted only by represen- 
tation through annually elected Common Councillors. Subsequent 
Charters made no alteration in this constitution till 1835. Even the 
Charter of 15 Charles II.,' though it makes no specific mention of earlier 
grants and is expressed in a style differing from that of preceding charters, 
only re-establishes what had existed before the disturbances of the 

4. With regard to the form of the Charters, the following changes 

' p. XV. '^ p. xviii. " p. xxvi. * p. Ix. * p. Ixix. 

p. xcvii. ' p. cxiii. 

cxviii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich, 

may be noted. The Charter of Henry II. is in general terms such as 
were suitable to many towns. That of 5 Richard I. follows a common 
form in use at the time and employed in several other cases. Each such 
case, however, has certain variations which may be attributed to local 
desires. King John and King Henry III. re-issue this same Charter in 
the same words, but each in his own name, without reference to any 
preceding grantor. The same practice is followed at a later time by 
King Edward IV., who on 12 February, 1462,^ re-enacts the provisions 
of 5 Henry V. without any mention of his predecessor. So also Henry V. 
had taken the provisions of that Charter from the Composition agreed 
to amongst the citizens, but makes no acknowledgment of their origin. 

The Charter of 13 Edward I.^ begins the practice familiar to all 
students of municipal Charters of confirming, after "Inspeximus" and 
recital, the Charters previously granted. As the Charters increased in 
number this involved a long series of recitals. This would be easy to 
follow if the series were given in chronological order. But that is not 
the case. A few Charters are taken separately, and the rest are to be 
found inside these in a perplexing maze. The last but one' of the 
Norwich Charters so compiled, that of 19 Henry VII.,* will illustrate 
the disadvantage of this system. King Henry begins by stating "We 
have inspected a certain Charter of Edward late King of England the 
fourth .... in these words." He then recites the Charter of 
10 February, i Edward IV. After that he recites the Charter of 
12 February in the same year, which, as just stated, was the same as the 
Charter of 5 Henry V. He then recites the Charter of 22 Edward IV., 
and concludes by confirming in his own name the contents of all the 
Charters recited. This is the framework of King Henry's Charter. All 
the other Charters not here mentioned are contained in the recital of the 
first of these, that of 10 February, i E. IV. That Charter states that 
King Edward had inspected four Charters of his predecessors, those of 
{a) Henry II., {b) 3 Richard II., {c) 5 Henry IV., {d) 30 H. VI. This 
is Edward IV.'s framework included in Henry VII.'s. The second of 
Edward's recited Charters, that of {p) 3 Richard II., is the one which 
includes the Charters not yet mentioned. In it Richard II. had recited 
his own Charter of his i^' year, which had recited and confirmed six 
preceding Charters, those of (i) 5 Richard I., (2) John, (3) 39 Henry III., 
(4) 2 February, 19 Edward II., (5) 11 Edward III., (6) 19 Edward III. 
Again we have to dig out several missing Charters from one of these. 
They are in (5) 1 1 Edward III. There Edward III. inspects^ two Charters, 
those of 3 February, 19 E. II. and 33 E. I. Still one more piece of 
unravelling remains. The Charter of 3 February, 19 E. II., recites those 

' p. ci. ^ p. xxxii. 8 -phe last is that of E. VI. 

* p. ex. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cxix. 

of 13 and 40 Henry III. Thus at last Henry VII. is found to have 
covered all the previous Charters. By this process we find that two 
Charters of Henry III. are included in one of Edward I., which is 
included in one of Edward II., which is included in one of Edward III., 
and that in Richard II.'s, and that in Edward IV.'s, and that fiinally in 
Henry VII.'s. With this wonderful complication we can well imagine 
that " our Charter of Liberties '' excited the admiration of the citizens 
when it was produced. 

5. It has been already observed that local initiative frequently had 
considerable effect on the form and contents of a royal grant. This is 
most strikingly exemplified in the case of the Charter of 5 Henry V., 
which authorised the settlement of the disputes which had arisen from 
the change of constitution in 5 Henry IV. This settlement in all its 
details had been drawn up and agreed to by the citizens themselves. 
King Henry only sanctioned the agreement. This " Composition " is a 
document of great importance in the municipal history of the city, and 
it is given in full among the Miscellaneous Documents which follow the 

6. Miscellaneous Municipal Documents. After the royal Charters 
are printed some documents which have been referred to in the intro- 
ductory sketch as illustrating various incidents in the progress of the 
city's municipal development. They are occasionally taken from the 
public records in London. But almost all of them are either separate 
documents surviving among the city muniments or are extracted from 
the Book of Pleas, the Liber Albus, and other repositories of miscellaneous 
evidences in which so much of the municipal history of the city is to be 
found. This series does not include those illustrative references which 
occur in distinct departments of city administration, such as Assembly 
Rolls, Court Enrolments, etc. These are given under their proper 

X.— The CustumaL 

I. The Royal Charters of a mediaeval town constituted the official 
right by which the citizens claimed to exercise their liberties. For that 
purpose they were produced in Courts of Justice, or in urging claims 
against rival communities. But the Charters seldom entered into details 
and definitions. Moreover, much of what was sanctioned, especially in 
early charters, was the exercise of local custom rather than royal ordinance. 
As municipal administration grew more complex it became advisable and 
even necessary for the townsmen to compile for their own use and guidance 

' p. Ixviii. 

cxx. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

a body of customs approved of among themselves. Next in importance 
to the Charter of Liberties, as confirmed (generally) by the reigning 
Sovereign, was the " Custumal." These Custumals differed considerably 
in the various towns according to local circumstances, and the date at 
which they were first compiled. They often exist only in the form of 
a copy in some Book of Evidences^ and bear marks of alterations and 
additions since the original compilation. Still they nearly always embody 
customs which had plainly been in use from a very early date, and it is 
probable that most towns of importance had put together such a 
Custumal or Code of important by-laws not later than the close of the 
thirteenth century. 

2. That this was so in Norwich has recently been placed beyond 
doubt by the re-discovery of the lost Book of Customs. ^ The date of 
the commencement of that book may be fixed at c. 1308. The Custumal 
was the first document entered according to the original Table of Contents, 
and gave the book its name "Liber Consuetudinum.'' It follows that 
the whole of the 51 chapters there entered in the original writing must 
date from the very beginning of the fourteenth century. An examination 
of the document suggests that most of it was probably of a still 
earlier date. 

It consists of 51 chapters fully entered. In the table of titles two 
more are added in the same hand, and a third in a later hand.^ The 
contents of these three chapters are not given. Until the reappearance 
of the Book of Customs, the only known copy of the Custumal was the 
fifteenth century copy in the Book of Pleas, which is printed in this 
volume (pp. 132 to 199). Up to chapter 51 the two copies agree 
together. It will easily be seen that the greater part of the compilation 
has been arranged in a very methodical manner ; (a) chapters 1-32 deal 
entirely with Legal Procedure^ chapters i-io concerning Criminal and 
Police Causes, chapters 1 1-32 the Civil Pleas which would be tried in 
the City Court; ib) chapters 33 to 44 deal with Trade and Merchandise; 
{c) the remaining chapters are miscellaneous, and two of them (48 and 49) 
should, in a new compilation, have been included amongst the other 
chapters relating to legal procedure. This is still more true of the two 
chapters about well-known Writs of which the titles are given at the 
end of the list, but not the chapters themselves. It is likely, therefore, 
that the copy in the Book of Customs was mainly taken from a Custumal 

^ See ante, p. xxxix. 

''■ This table of titles is carelessly written, the numbers being given incorrectly and 
the title of ch. 39 omitted altogether. The two titles added in the original hand are 
those numbered 54 and 52 in the Book of Pleas (see post, p. 136), and the title added later 
is the one there numbered 53. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cxxi. 

put into shape in the previous generation, perhaps after the restitution 
of the liberties in 1285.^ 

3. There are no characteristic features or enactments in the Norwich 
Custumal by which it may merit any special distinction as compared with 
the Custumals of other towns. Its range of subjects is somewhat limited. 
Great importance is given to the definition of the customs- governing 
devises and inheritance of tenements, especially where there is joint 
possession of a man and his wife. Both in legal disputes and in trade 
regulations the main aim always kept in view is the strict equality of all 
citizens, the superior advantages to be accorded to a citizen as against 
a "foreigner," and denunciation of the unpatriotic conduct of those who 
attempt to carry their complaints anywhere but to the city court. In this 
connection perhaps the most noticeable feature of the Custumal is the 
title by which citizens are throughout described, "pares^ civitatis.'' It is 
an assertion of equality which there is reason to suppose was becoming 
weakened even at the close of the thirteenth century, and contrasts 
strongly with the tendency which in the course of the fourteenth century 
led to the evolution of a ruling body, to the derogation of the rest of the 

4. The copy in the Book of Pleas^ The Book of Customs not having 
been recovered before the printing of the Custumal from the later copy in 
the Book of Pleas it is necessary to state how far the discovery of the earlier 
copy affects the value of the later. On the whole it may be said that the 
differences between the copies are far less than might have been expected. 
They are chiefly verbal mistakes of the later copyist. The Book of Pleas 
was compiled c. 1450. The initial "L" of Leges in the title omitted in 
the Book of Pleas is also omitted in the Book of Customs, doubtless for future 
ornamentation. But it does not follow that the fifteenth century scribe 
copied directly from the Book of Customs. As noticed already the three 
titles without chapters are entered in a different order, and there are 
certain verbal differences which are not errors. The chief point of evidence 
is that over the copy in the Book of Pleas is written " Framingham." This 
must be the name of an official who owned the copy from which the 
transcript was taken. This name is not in the Book of Customs. A 
Thomas de Framlingham (or Framingham) entered on the office of Bailiff 
at Michaelmas, 1337, just as Edward III. granted a Charter of Confirma- 
tion. The Custumal might well have been copied at the same time. If 
Framlingham's copy was taken from the Book of Customs and copied in 
the Book of Pleas, this would explain the only important addition. In 
the Book of Customs the title of chapter nine eads (very strangely) with 
" usque ad." " Aquam de Breything " is added in a later hand. In the 

1 See p. 138, n. 4. 2 See p. 178, n. 2. ■* pp. 132 to 199. 

cxxii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

chapter itself the expression is "usque ad locum antiquitus usitatum." 
The matter, as we know, was settled in 1331 (See Nos. XXXVII. and 
LXXXVIII.) and the mention of Breydon Water might be added after 
that time. 

The following differences or corrections may be noted : 

Ch. I, 1. 7. Read "secundum regni legem." 

Ch. 4. The last three words " si principalis convincatur " are omitted. 

Ch. 5, 1. 3. For " homines" read " omnes." 

Ch. 9. Omit " aquam de Breything." 

„ 1.5. Read " ad quatuor cruces." 
Ch. 10, 1. 10. For "usque" read "lesi." 
Ch. II, 1. 3. Omit from "et tunc '' to " Regis." 

„ p. 145, 1. I. After " somoniciones " omit all to " Quamquidem 
legem " and read " et vadiet legem quam." 
Ch. 15, 1. 4. For " in" read " inter." 
Ch. 17, 1. 13. For "capiatur" read " procedatur." 
Ch. 18, 1. I. For " laicalliter " read "laicali." 

ij P- 155) '• 5- After "legatum" insert "quatenus." 
Ch. 20, 1. 7. For "terminando" read " tantummodo." 
Ch. 23, 1. 3. For "facto" read " testamento." 
Ch. 25, p. 164, 1. II. For "iiii" read "duos." 

„ ,, 1. 12. For " duos solidos " read " iiii denarios." 

Ch. 27, 1. 4. For ■' defensione " read " disposicione." 
Ch. 28, 1. 7. After " quam" insert "ballivum." Omit from " et si" to 

" formam predictam." 
Ch. 31, p. 170, 1. 10. After " cayum " read "tempore piscali." 
Ch. 32, 1. I. Omit " assisse." 

J, p. 171, 1. 2. After "existente" read "quia necesse est quod 
ille novus emptor suam inde habeat seisinam, 
quando carta, &c" (1. 4). 
„ p. 174,1. 13. For " tunc " read " tamen." 
Ch. 33, 1. 18. For "altitudine" read " latitudine." 
Ch. 35, 1. 2. For " idem " read " id." For " itaque " read " Ita quod." 
Ch. 36, p. 179,1. lo- After "duodecim" insert " et tunc si suspicio 
habeatur contra eundem quod veritatem non 
recognoscat inquiratur ulterius per ordinacionem 
illorum duodecim et per &c." 
Ch. 37, p. 183, 1. 15. For "factor" read "fauctor." 
Ch. 38, 1. 12. For " profitare" read " parificare." 
Ch. 40, 1. 7. For "alicui de" read "aliunde in." 
„ 1.8. For "felenga" read "felinga."! 

1 Breach of contract. See Gross Gild Merchant ii. 403 ("Felling"). 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cxxiii. 

Ch. 40, 1. 10. After "rei empte" read "noticiam inde habeat set quod 
venditor plene habeat suam primam conven- 
cionem Et si non et ipse se velit conquer! in 
tali casu habeat querelans &c." 
Ch. 41, 1. 2. Omit "precium." 

„ 1. n. For " statutum " read " statum." 
Ch. 47, p. 195, 1. 6. After " collectores " add " et receptores." 
Ch. 49, 1. 3. After " leges " add " libertates." 

„ 1. 13. Omit "in dicta causa." 
Ch. 50, p. 198, 1. 8. After "sancta" insert "Dei." 
Ch. 51, p. 199, 1. 5. For " forinsecum " read "aliquem." 
„ „ 1.13. For " post " read " preter." 

XI.— The City Courts. 

I. Our documentary knowledge of the powers and practice of a 
City Court in Norwich does not date further back than the latter part of 
the 13* century. But there must of necessity have been some sort of a 
court from at least the time when the original settlements had become 
recognised as a united burgh. The first definite notice of such a court 
is in the Charter of 5 Richard I. (1194). "We have granted," says the 
King, " that the busting shall be held only once a week." A good deal 
may be reasonably inferred from this brief statement. The Charter, as 
we know, was one of common form at that time, the specific clauses 
being taken from an earlier Charter granted to London by King Henry I.' 
The sole difference in this clause as between the earlier and later charters 
is the insertion of the word " only." The restriction is also added in the 
similar Charter granted to London'' not many days before the Norwich 
Charter and in like Charters to other cities. Its object was to relieve 
the citizens from a burden which interfered with their daily occupations. 
Now if we compare some of these Charters together we shall find at 
least three names given to the local court mentioned in this clause. Here, 
as in London, the name given is "busting"; in a Charter of King 
Richard to Lincoln' it is " burwaramote " * ; in one granted by John 
while Count of Mortain to Bristol' it is "the hundred." There can be no 
reason to suppose that three different courts are meant. Rather in the 
three names we may read a threefold origin or development of the same 
court. It was first the borough moot or formal assembly of burgesses 
which must needs have been in existence from the earliest days of the 

1 Birch Hist., Charters, etc. of London (1887) p. 3. ^ ibm. p. 7. 

» Stubbs' Select Charters, p. 267. * Meeting of burgesses. 

« Seyer Charters of Bristol, p. 7. 

cxxiv. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

" burgh." Next, it exercised the civil functions of the hundred court 
declaring the folk-right or the ancient customs mentioned in and confirmed 
by the Charter of King Henry II, Thirdly, it corresponded, in the 
estimation of the King's clerks at Westminster, to the court known in 
London by the name of " busting.'' The London Court of this name 
was of great antiquity, dating from the time of the Danes. When, 
therefore, the name is found elsewhere it has been assumed that the 
court so called was copied from London. Whether this were so or not 
it is impossible to say. At Norwich the evidence is rather against such 
a supposition, for the court was there without the name. In our existing 
records the name is hardly ever found except in documents written 
elsewhere. The local appellation of the court is always " Curia Norwici " 
or " Curia Civitatis " or " Curia Theolonii," the latter name being derived 
from the Tolhouse where it was held. The London Court is said to 
represent the ancient County^ Court of London, the Wardmotes representing 
Hundred Courts. But we are told that the Sheriffs (who, with the Mayor, 
presided over this court) had formerly been called " Bailiffs," ^ a title 
belonging to officers of a Hundred. This would be inconsistent with its 
being at that time a County court. Norton* also points out that at a 
still earlier time it was probably presided over by the Reeve (the headman 
of a Borough or Township). This is precisely the sequence of officials 
which we have in Norwich, Reeve, Bailiffs, Sheriffs. 

Moreover, as the pre-conquest shire-gemot was to sit only twice in 
the year, the burh-gemot three times and the hundred-moot once a month,* 
the weekly meetings of the court which we have supposed to have 
combined the functions of the two last-named are more easily explained 
of the hundred than the county court. Norwich was a hundred of itself 
in the days of the Confessor and therefore the same constituency would 
serve the burgh-moot or the hundred moot, at least in the case of the 
burgesses under the jurisdiction of the King and the Earl. After the 
Conquest and the establishment of the French burgh there must for a 
time have been two courts. That for the French burgh may have been 
presided over by the Constable of the Castle or his deputy. As to the 
English burgh court a later tradition'' described its president as a " sergeant 
or bailiff appointed by the King." Both of these offices may well have 
been combined in the person of the King's Reeve. The Charter of 
5 Richard I. implies the existence at that time of only one city court, 
and is so far a confirmation of the suggestion that the two burghs were 
municipally working together at the date of Henry II.'s Charter (c. 1158). 
The name "busting" may justify a further conjecture. It either means 

1 Sharpe, Wills proved in the Court of Hustings, p. xx. Coke, IVth Inst. 247. 

2 Lib. Alb. Land., p. 42. ^ Constitutions, etc., p. 38. 

* These Courts might hold intermediate adjournments. ^ p. 57. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cxxv. 

"a house of pleas" or more probably "a court in a house."' The latter, 
as also the former, description distinguished the court so called from the 
earlier courts held in the open air. The court of the French burgh would 
doubtless from the first be held in the Toll House in the Mancroft or 
Norman Market. But the English burgesses may have continued their 
open-air meetings at the " Tomlond Motstowe" till the amalgamation of 
the two burghs. Then the combined court would be held in the Tolhouse 
and be rightly held to correspond with the London " Husting." 

2. By Richard's Charter (1194) the control of the Court passed 
into the hands of the citizens under the presidency of their elected Reeve 
or Reeves. The Charter itself bears witness that the jurisdiction of the 
court was similar to that of the Husting of London at that time in the 
cognisance of pleas of land or of debt or in reference to any other liberties 
or customs enjoyed by the citizens of London. We must suppose (as 
seems to be warranted by later evidence) that the court also, on stated 
occasions, fulfilled the duties of a deliberative assembly and that at present 
no definite distinction was- recognised between its various functions. 

In what way this early court was constituted for the practical 
transaction of its business must here be left unconsidered, for our 
conclusions could only be deductions from very obscure evidence of 
later date. 

The substitution of four Bailiffs instead of the Reeve c. 1223, and 
the acquisition by the citizens of control over their police jurisdiction led 
to a further development which did not correspond to the London practice. 
In London the police jurisdiction was exercised by the Aldermen in their 
wardmotes quite apart from the Court of Husting held for the whole city 
and presided over by the Mayor and Sheriffs. In Norwich, the leet 
presentments were made by several bodies of jurors representing various 
districts and coming at different times, but all alike were made at the 
same place and before the same four Bailiff's sitting as one body just as 
they sat for all the other business transacted in the same court. Though 
technically they were presiding over two different courts it is not at all 
likely that either they or the citizens troubled to mark the distinction. 
It would be practically true to say that on the appointment of Bailiff's 
the City Court added police business to its former civil jurisdiction. The 
civil jurisdiction had been inherited with the permanent lease of the city 
from the King its lord, the police jurisdiction came through the Sheriff 
of the County from the King as Ruler of the Kingdom and responsible 
for its law and order. But now both were exercised by the same officials 
in the same place and people would certainly ascribe both to the authority 
of the same court. 

3. Over the constitution of the Court there rests the same obscurity 

' Spelman Glossary, 

cxxvi. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

as we have found in tracing the evolution of a governing body. Every- 
where the authority and the executive action are attributed to " the 
BaiUflfs.'' Scarcely a hint is given of any other persons forming " the 
court." We may at least take it for granted that in the absence of any 
mention of a select body of assessors no such definite body existed till 
after 1404. Even the "24" authorised by the Charter of 1380 to be 
assessors to the Bailiffs seem to have been administrative rather than 
judicial helpers. Yet there must have been some helpers. The explana- 
tion of the obscurity seems to be that throughout the whole period from 
the Charter of Richard I. to the end of the fourteenth century the judicial 
court, no less than the deliberative assembly, was considered a brairch 
of the municipal action of the " communitas." At first, as already 
observed, there may not even have been two separate bodies to perform 
the two functions of justice and administration. The most illustrative 
case in respect of early judicial procedure in Norwich is that of Walter 
Eghe' for whose illegal hanging the city liberties were seized in 1285. 
The account as given in the records of the Eyre of 1286 tells how Walter 
had been indicted before the Bailiffs at the Leet, held (as usual) on the 
first Monday in Lent, for various thefts. On the following Wednesday 
he was "led before the said Baihffs and the whole Community of the 
whole city in the Tolboth " and, although at no man's suit, was required 
to answer the charge. He put himself on an inquest. Thereupon " the 
said Bailiffs together with the aforesaid Community " called an inquest 
which found him guilty, and he was hung. In so acting the citizens 
were going beyond the privilege of "Infangthief" for he was not caught 
" with the mainour " nor tried on anyone's charge. Hence, possibly on 
the report of the Coroners who should have been present^ to guard the 
rights of the King, they were punished by forfeiture of their liberties. We 
cannot suppose this trial and condemnation to have taken place anywhere 
but in the City Court, the " Curia Theolonii." Yet besides the presiding 
Bailiffs, the Court is described as the " whole Community of the whole 
City.'' The latter words are added because at the Leet where he was 
indicted only one subleet of the city (North Conesford) would be 
represented. The language of this early case is curiously repeated in a 
much later roll of 1350.' It is headed "Pleas before Geoffrey Butler and 
his fellow Bailiffs of the City of Norwich &c." The cases dealt with are 
market offences. In the case of a butcher found by an inquest guilty of 
selling bad meat it was decided " by the Court " that the meat should be 
burnt, etc. In another case a man being presented by 12 Jurors for 
selling fish before the legal hour " being present in the court of the said 

1 p. 220. 

2 See Custumal ch. 4 (p. 138). Perhaps this case led to the practice there mentioned. 
' £eei jfurisdiction, etc. (Selden Soc, Vol. V.) p. 80. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cxxvii. 

city" threw himself "on the grace of the Bailiffs:' Thereupon "it is 
declared to the said David by the Bailiffs and Community that he should 
no more do the like deeds under a penalty." In a third case five men 
guilty of the same offence are charged "before the Bailiffs of the City at 
an Assembly of the City," etc. The consequent amercement was pardoned 
"by the Bailiffs and Community" and to the "Bailiffs and Community" 
they had to find sureties. Here we find the Community exercising the 
same judicial functions partly in the court of the city and partly at a 
municipal assembly, both being held (it may be remembered) by the 
same officials in the same place and apparently with a similar class of 
assessors. We shall see that this theory of the whole community being 
the ultimate source of judicial authority is still expressed in the Charter 
of Henry IV. which created a definite magisterial body. 

If we endeavour to imagine how, in default of a select body of 
assessors, the business of the courts was carried on, we should naturally 
conclude that there was some sort of understanding or regulation by 
which certain competent persons were bound to render suit of court as in 
the case of a country manor. The various notices in the chapters of 
Customs show that there was no difficulty in summoning inquests not only 
for a future court but on a sudden question arising during the proceedings. 
One notice seems to give more precise information. Chapter 22 directs 
that in a certain case arising the executors of the will of the testator are 
to be set aside by order of the Bailiffs and " other good men of the city." 
The value of the tenement to be dealt with is to be settled " by view and 
discretion of good men chosen for that purpose " and to be realised within 
a certain time limited by the Bailiffs " and other discreet men of the court." 
Here we have mention of assessors of the court as distinct from persons 
chosen for a special purpose. This is as far as we seem able to go. 

The old City Court of Norwich retained its form and usages 
throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries,' with such extended 
jurisdiction as occasional Charters conferred on the citizens. Finally, the 
Bailiffs, by authority of the "communitas" exercised the functions of 
Justices of the Peace." 

4. The great changes which were inaugurated by the Charter of King 
Henry IV. (1404) in the constitution of the city caused an equally 
extensive change in the administration of justice. Besides the creation of 
the office of Mayor as chief citizen, the City was made into a County with 
two Sheriffs in place of the four Bailiffs. 

(a). The Charter authorises the Sheriffs to hold a County Court 
monthly on a Monday. This was a superior court which had hitherto been 

1 For illustrations of its civil jurisdiction, see Nos. CCXXXIV. to CCXLII. ; the 
Custumal, No. XLIX. chs. 11 — 31 ; Extracts from Court Enrolments Nos. LXXXIX. to 
CLI. ^ See p. liij. 

cxxviii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

held (in Norwich, but independently of the citizens) by the Sheriff of the 
County of Norfolk, or the King's Justices. It had been held in the 
Shirehall, which still continued to be the County Court of Norfolk. The 
Sheriffs of Norwich would hold their County Court in the Guildhall, by 
which name the old Tolhouse was henceforth called. 

(^). Then the Charter says they (the Sheriffs) may hold " a Court as 
the Bailiffs have done,'' evidently the old City Court of which we have 
spoken.^ Also continuing the old language it is said that "the Citizens and 
Comrnonalty " may hold in the Guildhall, before the Mayor and Sheriffs, 
pleas of Assize of Novel Disseisin, etc., with regard to lands within the 
liberty. This was manifestly the ancient court called the " busting" in the 
charter of King Richard I. 

(c). A third Court is also mentioned. The " Citizens and Commonalty" 
may through the Mayor and four " probi homines " hear and determine all 
matters, plaints, etc., belonging to the office of Justice of the Peace of 
Labourers, but not felonies without the King's mandate. This was a new 
court, though some of its powers had been exercised by the old city court. 
Here also we have the first appointment of a definite set of persons with 
magisterial authority. 

The " Composition '' of 1415,^ refers to these courts. The Mayor's 
Court (c) is to be held once a week or oftener for jurisdiction and correction 
of subordinate officers, and to try pleas of Apprentices, etc., the Mayor being 
described as " Chief Justice of the Peace in the city." He may also hold 
pleas of debts, contracts between merchants, etc., " saving his due fees to 
the Sheriff." The " Recorder " is to act as his legal adviser. 

Of the other Court^ ib) it is directed that the Mayor and Sheriffs are to 
hold pleas of Rents, Lands and Tenements, Recognisances and Enrolments 
in the Mayor's Court. The Sheriffs are to take the profits of the pleas; the 
Mayor the fees for enrolment. 

We gather from these statements that in some matters these two courts, 
or perhaps the Sheriffs County Court, interfered with each other. This was 
plainly the case. Persons might " complain for surety of the peace," either 
to the Mayor or the Sheriffs, and each court was bound to satisfy the 
complainant. But it is directed that a man might not be ordered to find 
surety in both courts for the same matter.^ Nor was a person imprisoned 
by the Mayor to be delivered by the Sheriffs without his bidding. The 
Recorder again appears to have endeavoured to serve two masters. He was 
" assigned" to the Mayor as his assessor, and was therefore forbidden to sit 

1 In the- first Court Enrolments after Henry's Charter, the names of the Sheriffs are 
substituted for those of the Bailiffs as Presidents of the Court. After a time the Mayor's 
name is always entered instead of those of the Sheriffs. 

2 Ko. XLI. (p. loi). 8 Ibm. (p. loi). •• Ibm. (p. 102), 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cxxix. 

also as Judge in the Sheriffs' Court' and so hinder the Mayor's Court. This 
had been complained^ of in the " Complaints of the Commons." The 
reservation of fees and profits for the Sheriffs, even partly in the Mayor's 
Court, would be because the Sheriffs were personally responsible for the fee 
farm rent, towards the providing for which the profits of court formed an 
important item. 

5. By the Charter of 5 Henry V. (1417), the elected " 24" were named 
" Aldermen," and were to " stand perpetual" as the Aldermen of London. 
From them alone were taken the four '' probi homines," who were authorised 
to sit as Assessors in the Mayor's Court. After this came the long period 
of unsettlement and controversy described in our sketch. During the 
forfeitures of the liberties. Sheriffs were appointed by the King, and the 
Mayor's Court fell into the hands of the Warden of the City for the time 
being. At length by the Charter of 30 Hen. VI.^ (1452)- the jurisdiction of 
the latter court was not only restored but extended, so that all the Aldermen 
who had passed the chair of Mayoralty became permanently Justices. The 
greater part of the charter consists of a full Commission of Peace of that 
period (with all its details) issued in their favour. 

When, however, we compare these arrangements with our existing 
documents we find reason to think that a good deal of modification must 
have taken place in the course of the is'*^ century. Our evidence during 
that century is very fragmentary, and the course of development can only 
be conjecturally given. Yet, as it relates to an obscure department of 
municipal history, even an imperfect attempt to trace it out may be 

It may be as well to begin by quoting a succinct description of the City 
of Norwich in this respect, as given by a nameless writer about the close of 
the 17''' century." 

" The Government of the City consists of 24 Aldermen, out of w"** is 
yearly chosen on the first of May and sworn the Tuesday before St. John 
the Baptist (if it happens not to fall on a Wednesday) a Mayor who is a 
Justice of the Peace and quorum during the year of his Mayoralty and after 
a Justice of the Peace during his life. It also hath two Sheriffs chosen the 
last day in [August]" and sworn on Michaelmas Day. The Mayor and 
Aldermen keep Court twice in the week to hear complaints and order such 
things as concern the peace and well governing of the city on Wednesday 
and Saturday. The Sheriffs also keep Court on Wednesdays and Fridays 
to try actions of debt and trespass between man and man, they have also 
Assistant to them two learned Lawyers in Commission of the Peace and 

1 Possibly this means tlie Sheriffs' Court for personal actions mentioned at the foot of 
this page. 2 See p. 76. ^ No. XXI. 

* Bodleian Library, Oxford. Gough MSS. Norfolk, 33 fol. 46a'. 
^ Hidden in the binding. 

cxxx. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Quorum whereof one is Recorder and the other Steward. The Recorder 
assisteth the Court of the Mayor and Aldermen and the Steward in the 
Sheriffs' Court is as Chief Judge, although the Sheriffs and Steward are 
called into the Mayor's Court as often as occasion serveth. The Corporation^ 
consisteth of the Mayor Sheriffs and Aldermen with the Commonalty which 
are the number of sixty chosen out of the Commons to be of the Assembly 
w"! the Mayor to consult enacte passe and determine anything that 
concerns the state of the city. The stated days of which Assembly are 
four,^ viz. S'- Matthew, S'- Matthias, May 3"* and the day before the 
swearing of the new Mayor, and upon any emergent occasions they are 
summoned to meet by the Mayor at other times.'" 

The two Courts here mentioned did not cover the whole jurisdiction of 
the City. The Sheriffs' Court is plainly that held in early times by the 
Sheriffs of London,* and described, in the same terms, as held by the 
Sheriffs of Norwich in 1834.'^ It had formed part of the jurisdiction of the 
Bailiffs' Court, and must have been separated (either at or soon after the 
first appointment of Sheriffs) from the Court of the Mayor and Sheriffs 
in which were held pleas of land. This latter court (mentioned as still 
existent in 1834, but almost obsolete) the writer does not notice. Besides 
the Court of the Mayor and Aldermen there was also the Court of Sessions of 
the Peace. Of these two courts abundant records are preserved in two series 
of books, one called " Court Books " and the other " Sessions Books." Both 
of them carry us back to the early part of the 16* century. The question 
is, how to connect the practice as recorded in the Court Books and Sessions 
Books with the authority conferred by the 15* century Charters. 

6. The Court of Sessions of the Peace. There can be no doubt that 
the origin of this court was the grant by Henry IV., in 1404, of jurisdiction 
as Justices of the Peace to the Mayor and four " probi homines," to be 
annually appointed by the Mayor. We can easily trace these four annually 
appointed Justices" in the extracts given between 1404 and 1452. How 
their duties were carried out we have little means of knowing except that 
they did a great deal of binding over people to keep the peace. They 
would be bound like other County Justices to hold Sessions of the Peace 
four times a year, and evidently held special Sessions of Enquiry from time 
to time. 

They were not however authorised to deal with felonies without a 

1 The writer's distinction between the Governing Body (24 Aldermen) and the 
Corporation which included also the 60 Commoners will not escape notice. 

^ This was the practice at this period as appears in the Assembly Books. 

' This extract has Blomefield's mark, and he has evidently borrowed from it in 
Vol. III. 450 (notes). ^ Lib. Alb. Land. 42, 216. 

5 Mun. Comm. Report IV. 2466. See No. CCXLV., and Note at the end of 
the Introduction, p. cxlvi. 6 Nos. CCXLVI. to CCLII. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cxxxi. 

mandate from the King.' With regard to this branch of the criminal 
jurisdiction of the city during this transitional period, we have two things 
to remember. First, the new Sheriffs, by Henry IV.'s Charter, were to hold 
a County Court, as other Sheriffs, once a month. This would take the place 
of the County Court of the Sheriff of Norfolk, hitherto held in the Shire- 
hall, to which appeals of felony in the city had been taken." At first no 
doubt the City Sheriffs would hold such a court in the Guildhall and so long 
as they continued to do so felonies may have been dealt with there to some 

The other point is that the exclusion of the Sheriff of the County did 
not involve the exclusion of Justices assigned by Royal Commission. The 
Delivery of prisoners from gaol by Special Commission was of much earlier 
origin than the appointment of Justices of the Peace. It had arisen so far 
back as the early is'^ century to supplement the work of the Itinerant 
Justices.' It was not therefore at once superseded even in a county-borough 
with exclusive jurisdiction like Norwich. Some of our 15* century extracts 
furnish valuable evidence in this connection.'' Even during the 14''! century 
some citizens had been put on such Commissions in conjunction with the 
County Justices assigned for the purpose.^ After 1404 the Commissions are 
issued to the Mayor in conjunction with one or two outside legal experts and 
to some leading citizens. It will be observed, however, that the citizens thus 
named in the Commission as " Justices assigned etc. for this turn " are not 
the four appointed by the Mayor as Justices for the year, which local 
Justices are summoned as subordinates to attend the Court.^ The 
proceedings are evidently those of an old Eyre or County Court, for the 
Mayor enjoins the Sheriffs to summon from each of the four Wards not only 
24 men, but also " four men and a reeve,'' the old representatives at such a 

^ By the Custumal ch. 3 (p. 138) an " appeal " of felony was to be taken to the County 
Court (of the Sheriff of Norfolk). By the Charter of 33 Edward I. (p. 19) indicted 
persons were to be kept in the City prison by the Bailiffs till the next Gaol Delivery 
"according to the law and custom of the kingdom." This is taken by a city advocate in 
1441 (No. CCXC. p.' 327) to mean "until the Justices assigned etc. came." By the 
Charter of 19 E. III. (p. 25), the citizens might "do justice" on trespasses and felonies 
within the newly-granted Castle Fee "according to the law and custom of the city." 
Presumably this meant, by keeping the offenders in their prison till a Gaol Delivery took 
place. This is probably also the meaning of the ist chapter of the Custumal. By ch. 4 
a thief indicted without a suit must be kept for the next Gaol Delivery. 

2 On the hearing of such appeals in the County Court of York in 1388, see 
Gross Office of Coroner (Selden See, Vol. IX.) p. 123. 

8 Maitland Select Pleas of the Crown (Selden Soc, Vol. I.) p. xxi. 

* Sec Nos. CCL. to CCLIV. 

5 In the Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1380 (m. I2cl) a Commission is issued to John de 
Cavendyssh, Stephen de Hales, and John Holt, in Norfolk, and with them in Norwich are 
associated Bartholomew de Appelyard, Henry Lominour, Reginald de Eccles, and Robert 
Cayley, four leading citizens. ^ p. 301. 

cxxxii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

court of a vill or township, who (more correctly) should have been 
summoned from every parish.^ The Sheriffs found the four men as required, 
but the "reeve'' was beyond their powers. 

The last of these Commissions'' is just after the Charter increasing the 
number of the City Justices, and accordingly we find nine instead of four 
City Justices summoned to attend. Special Commissions are found to have 
been issued at later times either for a Gaol Delivery, or a Session of the 
Peace, which did the same business, but they do not include the names of 

On the whole it seems reasonable to conclude that the dealing with more 
serious offences was not reckoned as part of the ordinary jurisdiction of the 
City Justices till quite the end of the 15''' century, when the authority of 
Justices in Quarter Sessions had much developed throughout the country. 
This would account for the absence of records of such business before that 
time. When our regular stream of Sessions records begins about the end 
of the century, or at least with the reign of Henry VIII., we find the City 
Justices calling two of their annual Sessions " Gaol Deliveries.'" They even 
soon after deal with capital offences,^ and by the next century they cease to 
distinguish this highest criminal jurisdiction by a special name. 

It would seem, however, that at a later time the practice of dealing 
with capital and other serious offences was allowed to fall into desuetude. 
The Municipal Reform Commissioners (1834) say of the Court of Quarter 
Sessions (Report iv. 2466) " By Charter of Car. II. it has power to try 
capital offences, but the right is never exercised." Blomefield (III. 136) 
states that Commissions hke those of 1423 "were often taken out and 
were continued till lately [c. 1744] when they were disused and, ever since, 
the Judges at the summer assizes, which are always held here, have tried 
all prisoners &c. to this time." In 1781, at an Assembly on 21 September, 
a Petition to Parliament was approved begging that the Lent Assizes 
might be held in Norwich. It runs, " This City contains near 40,000 
Inhabitants exclusive of the Hamletts. Assisses and General Gaol 
Delivery for the same City are now held but once a year. Civil and 
Criminal Causes are much delayed. Persons committed to prison may 
be confined there 1 2 months before they can be tried or delivered." The 
petition was not granted till 23 June, 1832, as recorded in a note in the 
" Mayors Book " which says, " Thus was this most desirable measure 
effected, after having been in vain petitioned for during many centuries.'' 

7. The Court of Aldermen. We may now return to what the writer 
quoted above calls the Court of the Mayor and Aldermen held twice a 
week. What was the origin of this court ? The answer seems to be that 
in its fully developed form and powers it was the combined result of 

' See p. 200, K. 2. 2 No. CCLIV. (p. 305). 


Selected Records of the City of Norwich, cxxxiii. 

more than one originating cause. It will be observed that for some time 
it is not called a "Court" at all, but "Convocatio (or Congregatio) 
Aldermannorum,"^ nor is any such Court definitely mentioned in the 
Charters of Hen. IV. or the "Composition" of 1415. The probable 
account of its origin and development is as follows. 

The Aldermen were originally the 24 annually elected citizens who 
by the Charter of 1380 had been invested with a certain administrative 
authority as " Counsel " to the Bailiffs. More correctly the authority was 
granted to the Bailiffs subject to their assent. There is no existing record 
of the action of this body, though as we have seen^ they were recognised 
in the Charter of Hen. IV. as a municipal estate distinct from the rest of 
the Community. The documents called the " Complaints" and " Answers" 
show them claiming a very definite administrative authority in elections 
and other matters. The " Composition '' and the subsequent Charter of 
Henry V. established them under the name of Aldermen as the real 
administrators of the city with a life-long tenure of their office, their 
authority being subject only to the "assent of the Commonalty." It is 
unquestionably in this capacity as an administrative body that we first 
meet with them in our records. Otherwise there is no reason to be given 
why throughout the is"" century and into the 16"' they should have been 
content to call their session a " Convocation " or " Assembly." 

But even with this title we find them dealing with the preservation 
of the peace,' and before the middle of the i6"» century they are exercising, 
as a principal part of their functions, a corrective and disciplinary authority. 
Whence was this derived? Perhaps it grew in some such way as this. 
First, as already observed, the Statutes of Labourers, as carried out by 
the Country Justices of the Peace, must have been carried out in the City 
by the Bailiffs and their assessors, and authority to that effect was 
committed to the Bailiffs by the Community.* Secondly, a definite 
arrangement on this point was stated in the "Composition" of 1415. The 
Mayor is authorised by the Community to have " Jurisdiction Court and 
Correction once a week or oftener .... to hear and determine in 
his court" .... all complaints alleged against any subordinate 
officials or ministers. Also all matters arising out of the Statute of 
Labourers "as he that is Chief Justice of the Peace in the City," etc. 
The Recorder is to be his legal adviser. That this weekly court of 
correction was the same as that afterwards described as the " Court of 
Mayoralty " or the Court of the Mayor or Aldermen admits of little doubt, 
yet, in part at least, the authority is ascribed to the Mayor's office of 
Justice of the Peace and nothing is here said about the 24 taking part 
in this jurisdiction although it must have been intended. This brings us 

1 See Nos. CCLXXVI., etc. 2 p. Iviii. » No. CCLXXVII. etc. 

« See Assembly Roll, 1377, No. CLXXXIV. 

cxxxiv. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

to a third observation, that the authority of the Court of Aldermen was 
the result of a combination of the administrative authority conferred on 
the " 24 citizens " as a body and the personal authority belonging to some 
of them, in particular the Mayor, as Justices of the Peace. The earlier 
title of their Sessions bears witness to their original functions, the later 
to the increased power with which they were able to act. For a time five 
out of 24 were Justices, then, after 1452, often double that number. It is 
evident also that the power which really belonged to some personally was 
practically assumed by the whole body. The corrective discipline as 
finally exercised by the Court of Aldermen, which to a great extent 
absorbed and extended that of the earlier Leet Courts was, strictly speaking, 
a branch of the Conservation of the Peace. It is no matter of surprise 
that the administrative and judicial functions of the members of the body 
should have coalesced into a general magisterial authority when we 
remember that the very same persons, the Mayor and at least one-third 
of his fellows, took part in both. So it came to pass that the administrative 
Court of the 24 citizens became also a Court of Police Jurisdiction and 
to some extent a Court of Petty Sessions, while the higher Criminal 
Jurisdiction was confined to a more limited portion of the body sitting in 
Quarter Sessions.^ 

XII The early Leet (or Police) Courts. 

I. These Courts have been reserved for special mention because they 
were distinct from the Courts already described, and because during the 
time the city was governed by Bailiffs they occupied a very important 
position in the municipal administration. They existed for the purpose 
of carrying out the jurisdiction which is now associated with the term 
" police " ; viz., the dealing with the minor offences against the general 
law of the land and with all breaches of the customs (or by-laws) of the 
city. The Court also took notice of more serious offences or felonies ; 
but except in the case of open theft their condemnation and punishment 
were reserved for the County Court or the next visit of the King's 

Frankpledge and Tithings. A brief explanation of these terms is 
necessary for understanding the action of the Leet Courts. By Norman 
and perhaps earlier English law local communities were made responsible 
to the central authority for the maintenance of common order and 
discipline. The responsibility was laid on the Hundred and, within each 

^ For the transference of offenders from the lower court to the higher, see No. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cxxxv. 

Hundred, on its constituent Vills (or Townships). For the purpose in view 
the whole adult male population was bound to organise itself into small 
sectional bodies called Tithings. A normal tithing consisted of lo or 12 
persons, including youths of 12 years old and upwards. These persons 
were mutually responsible for each other's good conduct, and were 
collectively called upon to answer for all offences committed in their 
immediate neighbourhood. This system was called " Frankpledge " or the 
pledge of freemen. Twice a year the Sheriff of the County visited the 
Hundreds and held a " View of Frankpledge," or enquiry whether the 
enrolment of adults was being properly carried out. 

Presentment of Offences. From the close of the 12* century onwards, 
probably from the Assize of Clarendon in 1166,^ the View of Frankpledge 
was accompanied by the report or presentment of any offences which had 
been committed since the last View. One man in each tithing, called the 
Chief or Capital Pledge,^ made the presentments on behalf of his tithing. 
At least 1 2 chief pledges were required to be sworn together at each court, 
and the offences (if within the cognisance of the court) were punished by 
fines or amercements affeered^ by two or more of their number appointed 
by themselves for the purpose. The jurisdiction was, in theory, a royal 
privilege ; but the Lords of exempt estates, including the anthorities of 
chartered cities and boroughs, seem to have early claimed the privilege to 
exercise this jurisdiction and retain the profits of the court. 

2. The Norwich Organisation. The above system differed in many 
of its details in different parts of the country. It was, however, more strictly 
carried out in East Anglia than elsewhere, and in Norwich is found to accord 
with its normal form. Much has already been incidentally mentioned in 
the earlier Introductory Chapters of this Volume. It has been pointed out* 
that the View of Frankpledge in its more restricted sense most likely passed 
into the hands of the citizens in 1194, under the charter of Richard I., and 
that the substitution of four Bailiffs for a Reeve in 1223 was co-incident 
with the sub-division of the four older Leets of the city into subleets for the 
purpose of exercising the jurisdiction of presentment and amercement of 
minor offences.^ Our earliest evidence on the subject is not more than 65 
years later than that year, viz., in 1288, when the first of a most valuable 
series of Leet Rolls was compiled. Seven such Rolls are preserved relating 
to the 13 years between 1288 and 1300.^ There is a very full Roll of 13 13, 
and there are also two of 1375 and 1391.' In addition to these there exists 
a specially interesting Tithing Roll of the Leet of Mancroft," with a list of 

1 Maitland Manorial Pleas (Selden Soc, Vol. II.) p. xxxii. 

2 In Latin, capitalis plegiws ; in English, headborough from borh, a pledge. 
« Assessed. * p. xxiii. ' p. xxvii. '^ pp. 357 to 370, 

' pp. 381 and 383. " p. 371- 

cxxxvi. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

all the inhabitants as they were enrolled in Tithings in the year 13 ii as 
nearly as may be fixed. These Rolls with some others of a later date have 
already been edited and explained by the present writer.' A short summary 
of what is there stated may be here given. 

In 1288/ we find the presentments enrolled as in the four Leets of 
Conesford, Mancroft, Wymer, and Ultra Aquam. But we also find them 
entered as being made by separate Juries from sections or sub-divisions of 
these leets. Though the actual word is never used^ it is convenient to call 
these sections subleets. The subleets are mostly made up of groups of 
parishes, varying from a single parish to nine or ten. Supplementing the 
information of this Roll in one or two cases from that of other Rolls and 
giving the subleets the names by which they were (not then, but) afterwards 
known, we find that at the close of the 13* century there were in operation 
in Norwich 11 of these subleets. The Leet of Conesford contained three 
subleets, {a) South Conesford with six parishes represented in 1288 by 12 
capital pledges, (3) North Conesford with four parishes and 12 capital 
pledges, (f) Berstrete with six parishes' and 13 capital pledges. The Leet 
of Mancroft contained two subleets^ {a) the parish of S'- Stephen with 12 
capital pledges, (b) the parish of S'- Peter Mancroft with 30 capital pledges. 
The Leet of Wymer or Westwyk contained four subleets, (a) S'- Giles with 
four parishes and 12 capital pledges, {b) S'- Gregory with two parishes (S'- 
Gregory and S'- Lawrence) and 12 capital pledges, (c) S'- Andrew with 5 
parishes and 15 capital pledges, {d) S'- George [Tombland] with 3 parishes 
and 12 capital pledges. The Leet Ultra Aquam had two subleets, {a) S'- 
Michael [Coslany] with four parishes and 18 capital pledges, and S'- 
Clement with 10 parishes and 15 capital pledges. The conclusion seems to 
be reasonable that the subleets were artifically arranged so that each should 
have 12 capital pledges at least to make its presentments, for the law 
required no less than 12 sworn men to acquit or condemn their neighbours. 
This means that each subleet was arranged to include at least 1 2 tithings. 
The large parish of S'- Peter Mancroft, containing the market, had 30 
tithings. S'- Stephen could make up 12. Each of these two therefore 
could deal with its offences by itself S'- Gregory and S'- Lawrence, 
adjoining the market and full of workers, could combine together. But in 
the outlying districts, away from the busy centre of city life, where population 
was thinner, it took six or (in one case) even ten parishes to find tithings 
enough to produce the requisite number of capital pledges to form a legal 
jury of presentment. There is, however, evidence (chiefly gathered from 
the Mancroft Tithing Roll of 1311) that the original arrangement had (even 
in 1288) undergone some modification. It is thought, therefore, that there 
were originally 12 subleets, the two over the water with their 33 tithings 

' Hudson, Leet Jurisdiction in Norwich, Selden Soc, Vol. V. 
2 p. 357. » See p. 371. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich, cxxxvii. 

representing what had once been three subleets. The total number of tithings 
was about i6o. In modern language, the City of Norwich in the is'^^ and 
14"' centuries was organised into 12 (or finally 10) police districts, containing 
1 60 police associations. Each little district held its own separate session in 
the Tolhouse, but at all the Sessions the four city Bailiffs in conjunction 
presided, and the amercements in all cases went to the common chest. 

3. The Procedure. The Court was held yearly in the Tolhouse under 
the presidency of the four Bailiffs. The usual day for commencing the 
business was the first Monday in Lent.i On that day the Capital Pledges of 
South Conesford would make their presentments. The other subleets would 
follow on other days, generally (at least on the Roll) in the order just 
described as entered in 1288. It appears that about three days in each week 
were thus occupied, so that the whole business went on for about four weeks 
of Lent. In one of the 14* century Rolls, that for 1391,^ all the days of 
sitting are specified. The presentments of the different subleets are entered 
in the usual order, but their session days followed a very different order. At 
that time the two subleets of South and North Conesford were combined in 
one, and the whole number was only 10. They sat as follows : — 2"'* week in 
Lent: Monday, S'- Stephen, Tuesday, Conesford, Thursday, Berstrete, 
Friday, S'- Gregory ; 3'''' week in Lent : Thursday, S'- Peter Mancroft ; 4''' 
week in Lent: Monday, S'- Andrew, Thursday, S'- Michael, Friday, S'- Giles ; 
5* week in Lent: Monday, S'- Clement, Tuesday, S'- George (Tombland). 
The reason why they did not begin this year on the t'^' Monday in Lent may 
have been because it fell very early, and on the feast of S'- Valentine 
(14 Feb.) 

The Presentments and the Offences presented. As already stated, the 
offences were presented by the Capital Pledges of the Tithings in numbers 
of not less than 1 2 sworn jurors. Where there were more present they were 
not all sworn. If there were not enough present, at least in the 14* century, 
a member of a tithing might be sworn for the day. Each jury was supposed 
to know all the offences which had taken place in its district during the year, 
and was fined " for concealment " if any breach of law and custom was 
known and not reported. There was no trial of the reported offenders. But 
as occasionally it is stated that a person is " Pardoned because the charge 
is not true," it seems that some defence might be set up and allowed by the 
Bailiffs if they satisfied themselves of its validity.' 

The offences presented were very numerous, and embraced nearly the 
whole field of local jurisdiction. Even murder, manslaughter, or death by 
accident might be presented, but they were not dealt with by the court. The 
accused parties were ordered to be arrested. Thefts were presented, and if 
the amount stolen was small they were punished by amercement, otherwise 

' pp- 357, 368- ' P- 383- ' p. 365, ». 5. 

cxxxviii. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

they were reserved for a higher court. If the thief was caught with the 
stolen goods and was prosecuted at the time, he might be hung by the 
citizens of their own authority. Receivers of stolen goods were mostly 
amerced. Assaults, which in the earlier rolls are described as " blood- 
drawing," were nearly always punished by amercement. Sometimes, how- 
ever, the necessity for sterner measures must have been felt, for all such 
offenders are ordered to be arrested. Raising the hue and cry was a very 
common presentment. The party who raised it wrongfully was amerced. 
Nuisances of all sorts were presented, as fouling a highway, selling un- 
wholesome meat and fish, blocking a road, etc. Even what would now be 
called private nuisances were dealt with, as removing a neighbour's bounds, 
encroaching on his ground, blocking the course of his gutter, etc. Market 
and Trade Offences are very numerous, as using defective weights and 
measures, buying and selling before the lawful hour, forestalling^ the market 
by buying up goods coming into the city to force up the price, or forbarring 
it by buying them up to sell them elsewhere. Old clothes were sold for 
new, pasties had been warmed up when two or three days old, all kinds of 
underhand proceedings were reported. Then people had not enrolled them- 
selves in tithings as the law required. Most of all, the common chest of 
the city suffered in various ways. Persons were trading and making profit 
without having taken up their freedom. Outsiders, pretending that they 
were citizens or were bringing in the goods of citizens, got goods through the 
gates without paying toll ; the men of various crafts presumed to regulate 
their own affairs and correct their own offenders instead of bringing all such 
matters before the City Bailiffs to the profit of the community. And 
unpatriotic citizens, misled by the prospect of more favourable judgments, 
would take their causes to the ecclesiastical court on the plea that the case 
had something to do with a testament or a marriage, to the great annoyance 
and loss of the defendants. Finally, by far the most fertile source of 
municipal profit was the amercement of those who had been guilty of 
breaches of the assize of ale. The assize of bread is little mentioned. 
Perhaps it was dealt with in some other way. The price of ale was fixed 
according to the price of wheat. Almost every house-wife of the leading 
families brewed ale and sold it to her neighbours, and invariably charged 
more than the fixed price. The authorities evidently expected and wished 
this course to be taken, for these ladies were regularly presented and 
amerced every year for the same offence, paid their amercements and went 
away to go through the same process in the future as in the past. Much 
the same course was pursued by other trades and occupations. Fishmongers, 
tanners, poulterers, cooks, etc., are fined wholesale year after year for 
breaking every by-law that concerned their business. In short, instead of a 

1 p. 367, n. 2, 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich, cxxxix. 

trader (as now) taking out a license to do liis business on certain conditions 
which he is expected to keep, he was bound by conditions which he was 
expected to break and afterwards fined for the breach. The same financial 
result was attained or aimed at by a different method. 

The Amercements. The only penalty in the power of the court was 
amercement, i.e. an arbitrary money fine fixed by the court in each case. 
For this purpose two of the jurors were appointed, most likely by the rest, 
if not by the Bailiffs. They said what each offender was to pay, and were 
supposed to temper the fine according to the capacity of his or her income. 
The fines varied from 3d. to about 4s. The Roll of 1289^ enters all these 
details most fully. From it we find what every offender was assessed to pay 
and how much was actually collected. An order was given to two persons, 
who were doubtless sergeants of the Bailiffs, to collect the sums assessed. 
But some offenders are excused because they are poor, some because they 
are in office, as a gate-keeper or a sergeant. Some are excused by the 
Bailiffs without reason assigned ; some " at the instance " of certain great 
people wishing to do a good turn for a friend. Again, others make a 
bargain with the collector, thus expressed, as for instance, "John de 
Swafifham^ is not in tithing. Amercement 2s. He paid (yd. the rest is 
excused. He is quit." Sometimes an entry is marked ''vad,"/.^. vadiat, 
or vadiatur, he gives a pledge, or, it is pledged. The Collector had seized 
a jug, or basin, or chair. But by far the larger number of entries are 
marked " d," i.e. debet, he owes it. The Collector had got nothing. At the 
end of each (great) Leet is a collector's account of moneys received and 
paid in to the Bailiffs or the City Chamberlain in three or four or more 
payments. By drawing out a balance sheet for the whole city in this year 
it appears that the total amount of all the amercements entered is 
;^72 i8j. \od. This is equivalent to more than ^^1,000 at the present 
value of money. But all that the Collectors can account for, even after 
Easter, is jQ^i os. 2d. It is clear that howeve.' efficient the system was in 
preventing offences from passing undetected, it did not do much to deter 
offenders from repeating them. 

4. The Capital Pledges and Tithingmen^ The various lists of Capital 
Pledges in these Rolls and the Mancroft Tithing Roll supplemented by 
information to be derived from the existing Enrolments in the City Court 
at the close of the 13* century enable us to say with some certainty that 
at that time the Capital Pledges lived in the districts which they represented. 
They were not members of exactly the leading class from which the 
Bailiffs and some other oflScials were taken. But with that exception they 
occupied a good position among their neighbours. Once elected, they seem 
to have served for several years. As to the members of the Tithings we 

p. 364. ^ p. 364, See Leet yurisdiction, etc., p, Iviii. 

cxl. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

are quite dependent upon the Mancroft Roll. It seems fairly certain from 
that document that a tithing consisted of male members of households 
within a limited neighbourhood. A tithing, however, was never (in Norwich) 
called from a district or a street,' but from its head. In those days 
responsibility was always supposed to reside in some personal official. 
Another point is that there can have been very few lay persons in the city 
exempt from the obligation of being enrolled in tithings by reason of their 
prominent position. This was the case in the country generally, but among 
the members of the tithings in the Tithing Roll of 131 1, many names may 
be identified as those of citizens who undoubtedly belonged to the ruling 
class. Ecclesiastical persons were exempt, being responsible to their own 
superiors. And to some extent the members of a man's household (his 
" mainpast " ) were also exempt, yet we find many such, and even a man's 
sons presented for not being enrolled, even though living at home. 

5. The later history of this branch of the city jurisdiction may be 
briefly summarised. On the City becoming a County in 1404, the new 
Sheriff's of the County of the City began to hold Tourns'' as other County 
Sheriffs did. In these courts the presentments were made by specially 
chosen juries appointed by the Sheriffs themselves. They were made, not 
as in the Leet Courts by jurors from the subleets, but from the four Great 
Leets, by this time called Wards. We have no records of them till the 
time of Edward VI. By that time the system of r2 small Wards had been 
established, and the material for the presentments seems to have been 
supplied by the constables of the small Wards. 

During the is'*' century, as already shown, the magisterial power of the 
Aldermen was established on a definite basis. Much of the business 
previously dealt with in the Leets passed to the Court of Aldermen. Again, 
during the same century the Trade Guilds were organised with acknow- 
ledged authority, and absorbed much of the old Leet business in that 

Yet in spite of all this the Leet Courts continued to meet as of old in 
Lent. The Sheriffs presided. The second Sheriffs' Tourn, held after Easter, is 
sometimes called " The Turne" with the residue of the Lete," as if it finished 
off after Easter what the Leet had begun before Easter. Even when 
Sheriff's' Tourns had long ceased, we find Rolls of the old Leet Courts 
divided into their old 10 subleet- sections, meeting and presenting a few 
items, chiefly of defective weights and measures, nuisances, and riotous 
houses. Our latest picture is taken from the Report of the Commissioners 
who prepared the way for the Municipal Reform Act of 1835. Four men* 
(presumably one from each Great Ward) were called " The Leet." They 

' As in Nottingham. See Leet Jurisd., p. Ixxii. 

•'■ pp, 386 to 390. 3 p. 387. J See Leet Jur., p. Ixxxii. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cxli. 

were inspectors of weights and measures, and received, in lieu of salary, 
the fines imposed upon the parties convicted of using defective weights, etc. 
Soon after this our modern Police system came into operation. 

XIII — The local Militia and Musters. 

1. Closely allied to the Leet or Police organisation was that of the 
local Militia. In its origin this was an obligation laid upon every free 
member of the community to hold himself ready to fight for the defence of 
the country or the maintenance of internal order. The old English "fyrd," 
as it was called, which was unavoidably discontinued after the Norman 
Conquest for several generations, was revived when Normans and English 
settled down together by King Henry II. through the Assize of Arms in 
1181. More specific directions as to its exercise were given by a Writ of 
King Henry III. in 1252, and again by King Edward I. in the Statute of 
Winchester in 1285. By that Statute two Constables were to be elected in 
every Hundred to see that the ancient Assize was being duly carried out, 
and, with that object, to hold a " View of Arms " twice in each year. As 
the central authority in the kingdom became stronger, and a general levy 
was no longer thought of as a probable necessity, and what the King 
required was rather a select number of qualified soldiers, the system, though 
nominally continued, was much modified. The citizens would be called 
upon by the King to furnish him with a certain number of men, or to offer 
as many as they could, and perhaps Commissioners would be appointed on 
his behalf to see that his demands were satisfactorily met. This was called 
a "Commission of Array." It was met by dividing the responsibility, 
whether for men or money, amongst the various leets (or wards) and sub- 
leets of the city on much the same lines as in the administration of the 
police jurisdiction. 

Our Norwich Records connected with this department of civic administra- 
tion are not of a very early date, but they enable us to take a sufficiently 
clear view of the method in which the two main principles of obligation 
mentioned, the general equipment of all adults or the selection of qualified 
men, were carried out in the city. 

2. It is fortunate that one record in particular has survived, a " View 
of Arms" of the Leet of Conesford in 1355. The organisation which it 
reveals is so manifestly based on the old Assize of Arms, the later 
modifications being easily detected, that it not only gives a vivid picture of 
the procedure at its own date, but fairly supplies the deficiency of earlier 

This interesting document^ is entitled " View of Arms held before John 

1 No. CCCXXV., p. 390. 

cxlii. Selected Records of the City of Norivich. 

Bardolf of Wermegeie and his fellows, Justices of the lord King for 
preserving the peace of the lord King in the County of Norfolk, for the 
Leet of Conesford in the City of Norwich, on Monday after the feast of S'' 
James the Apostle in the 29"! year of King Edward the third from the 
conquest of England." [27 July, 1355.] 

After giving the names of two Constables fully armed, it supplies a list 
of " fully armed " men, " half armed " men and archers. In each case the 
details of the equipment are given for the first person mentioned, the other 
members of the same class being described as " armed in like manner.'' 

After this the whole contingent provided by this Leet is passed in 
review as vividly as if marching before the eyes of the reader. The 
contingent consists of two companies, one evidently being from the subleet 
of Conesford^ the other being described as from the subleet of Berstrete. 
Each company is under the command of a captain ( " centenarius,") one of 
the fully armed men mentioned above. He carries a lance and banner 
[" baner" or " vexillum"]. The company from Conesford subleet contains 
five sections. Each section is under an officer called " vintenarius'' [from 
the French " vingt,"] and in accordance with the title of the officer a section 
consists of about 20 men. The vintenars are taken from either the fully 
armed or the half armed men, and it will be noticed that almost every 
section contains one or more armed men mixed with the unarmed men who 
make up the number. A vintenar carries a lance and pennon [pyncellum.J 
The unarmed men carry a variety of weapons, swords, axes, hatchets, and 
almost all a staff and coutel [baculus et cutellus.J A few are archers with 
bows and arrows. The Berstrete^ company contains only four sections under 
four vintenars. The total complement of the contingent from the Leet of 
Conesford, exclusive of the two Constables who must have been acting as 
Inspectors in conjunction with the County Magistrates, is as follows, {a) for 
the Conesford subleet, one company with five sections under five vintenars, 
and containing just 100 men ; {b) for the Berstrete subleet, one company 
with four sections under four vintenars, and containing 80 men, giving in all 
two centenars, nine vintenars, and 180 men. 

Besides this roll there are preserved two other rolls, almost contemporary, 
for the Leets of Mancroft and Wymer. They are not arranged in the same 
manner as that for Conesford, but with the help of that roll we may fairly 
gather the constitution of the Militia of those two Leets. Mancroff 
apparently had two companies for its two subleets of S'- Peter Mancroft and 
S'- Stephen. There were two centenars, 11 vintenars, and about 220 men. 
The roll is very badly defaced, but plainly we may trace the existence of an 
organisation similar to that of Conesford. As might be expected in the 
wealthy district of Mancroft, there is a larger proportion of armed men and 

' P- 393- " P- 394- 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cxliii. 

many more archers. The Wymei^ roll mentions no centenars or vintenars, 
but as it gives the names of four Constables, and the contingent contains 
only a little short of 400 men, we may take for granted that this Leet had 
four companies, corresponding to its four subleets, and that each of the 
companies contained its full number of five sections with 20 men. Even 
for the Leet Ultra Aquam^ we have some evidence tending in the same 
direction. A similar roll for that Leet was in existence in the time of 
Kirkpatrick, who has left a short analysis of it. He gives two Constables, 
corresponding to the correct number of two subleets, and a total of 169 
men. Six (perhaps seven) names have " Vint " in the margin. This 
information, though very imperfect, would seem to imply the existence of 
two companies, which should have contained about 200 men. 

Although some of the subleets appear not to have provided their full 
normal complement of men, yet on the other hand there were the exempt 
districts belonging to the Prior and others whom we find contributing money 
at a later time.' They may very likely have contributed a certain quota of 
men at this period. 

3. On the whole we may conclude that in 1355, if Hugh de Bardolf 
and his fellows required the actual presence of the persons enrolled on the 
Constables' lists, as the Conesford Roll would warrant us in supposing they 
did, and if further they called out all the contingents before them at the 
same time, then they passed in review in the City of Norwich a goodly 
regiment of about 1,000 men, thoroughly organised in companies and 

It is plain, however, that the organisation as then existing was entirely 
artificial. It did not represent the full requirements of the old Assize of 
Arms. It was not a gathering of the whole adult citizenship, although it 
was much too large to represent a special call. We may conclude that it 
was a compromise which a large city like Norwich was allowed to make. 
A thousand qualified men furnished a sufficient recruiting ground for any 
number the King's Commissioners might want. 

The fact that there were 10 companies, and almost certainly 10 
constables, is an instructive feature. It means that at this time there were 
10 divisions in the city which either were, or might have been, called 
Constabularies. These divisions were, undoubtedly, the 10 subleets. Now 
these subleets, as we know, had not been formed for military but for police 
purposes about 1223. Their connection with the Militia must have become 
gradually closer. We learn from the case of Thomas de Karleton (p. 211) 
that the whole armed force of the city was under his orders as the Chief 
Constable of the Hundred appointed under the Royal Writ of 1252. The 
Leet Roll of 1288 shows that after the Statute of Winchester in 1285 there 

• p. 396. 2 p. 399. 8 p. 4.06. 

cxliv. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

was one Constable for each great Leet,^ and a Sub-Constable for each sub- 
leet.^ At that time there were 1 1 subleets, and there would therefore be 1 1 
sub-constabularies. But we learn also from our Leet Rolls that in the 14* 
century the number of subleets was reduced to 10, and that the word "leet" 
was applied to what had been subleets." Our Militia Rolls fall in with this 
development. The Constables are, indeed, given as officers of a great Leet, 
but their number is apportioned to that of the subleets. The subleet of 
Berstrete also is described as the "leet" of Berstrete.* It seems clear then 
that the office of the four chief Constables had lapsed, and that the 10 sub- 
constables had taken their place as Constables.'^ 

We may hazard a conjecture that these changes were connected rather 
with Militia than Police organisation. The one Constable in 1252, or the 
four in 1285, may, with the assistance of their deputies, have inspected twice 
a year all the citizens who were bound to appear under the Assize of 
Arms. But the gatherings would of necessity lack organisation. As the 
idea of a general muster died out, and the demand for qualified men 
increased, the need for organisation would become pressing. Hence, 
perhaps, the organisation of centenaries and vintenaries, in imitation of an 
army on service, and the assignment of a centenary to each subleet. 
Hence also the raising the subleets (for police and mihtary purposes) into 
the position of Leets, and the sub-constables into that of Constables. 

4. Commissions of Array. The selection of a certain number of men 
to go out on the King's service is illustrated by the Roll for Ultra Aquam° 
just mentioned. In it 20 leading citizens are not described as fully armed 
or half armed, but against their names is set " one man armed," or against 
some " two (or three) men armed." To some an " archer " also is added. 
This, no doubt, means that these citizens found substitutes for themselves, 
and some provided others besides. The process of selection is more 
clearly seen in some other documents contemporary with the Views of 
Arms, of which three are given' with the " Views.'' They are described as 
" Arrays " or " Agistments," the two words being treated as synonymous, 
but originally describing two steps in the process. The " Arrayacio " was 
compiling the list, or panel, or schedule, of the persons responsible ; the 
" Agistacio " was apportioning or assessing the responsibility, whether in 
service, arms, or money, amongst those on the array. There can be no 
reason to doubt that the Muster Rolls or lists of the contingents furnished 
by the Leets to the Constables at the View of Arms formed the basis of 
the selection. 

These particular Rolls do not mention the number of men the City 
was required to provide, but we find from the Assembly Rolls that a 

' P- 357- "^ p- 363- ' rp- 383 to 385. ■" p. 393. 

^ For the importance of these officials in the 1 5* century, see p. ciii. 
° P- 399- ' PP- 400 'o 402. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. cxlv, 

frequent demand was for 120 men.' In 1385 it was for 40 men at arms, 
40 archers, and 40 mariners. In 1461, the leading citizens are to find 40 
men at arms and the commonalty 80. In the time of Queen Elizabeth the 
number of "calyver" men (gunners), trained in the City according to the 
Queen's Commission, was 80. 

5. Later Muster Rolls. As illustrating the Militia arrangements in 
the City in the middle of the 15* century, some extracts are given relating 
to demands made upon the City just before the downfall of King 
Henry VI. at the hands of King Edward IV. from 1457-1461.'* They are 
taken partly from the contemporary Assembly Book, and partly from the 
" Old Free Book." They are not quite so intelligible as the earlier Rolls. 
The citizens agreed, as just mentioned, to send to the King 120 men, the 
expenses to be assessed by Wards and Parishes. A Captain (probably a 
trained soldier) was persuaded to undertake the leadership, and the public 
treasury was to find his outfit and other expenses. The 80 men were 
engaged for six weeks at dd. a day or 2\s. each. The City agreed to find 
200 marks, and in addition the Prior of the Cathedral offered 10 marks, the 
Master of the Hospital of S'- Giles four marks, and the Dean of the 
College of the Chapel in the Field 40^. or three marks. These last gifts are 
expressly stated to be "freely offered for the safe custody of the city." 
Perhaps that means they were not to be spent on the wages of the soldiers, 
but on strengthening the city defences if need arose. 

The old Free Book gives what seems to be a complete Muster Roll of 
the period.^ The total number of names entered falls greatly short of that 
in the 14"* century rolls, being about 660, but the proportion of the four 
great Wards to each other is similar to that of the four Leets. The list 
appears to be connected with an urgent appeal in 1457 to the citizens of 
Norwich by the burgesses of Yarmouth, who were threatened with an 
attack by the King's enemies. The Norwich citizens agreed to send 
200 men for eight days.* 

Some further illustrations of 100 years later are given.^ They relate to 
the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The total number of men entered on the 
Muster Rolls varies considerably between 1,500 and 1,800. It is clear that 
to this number must be added the Aliens, who were very numerous in the 
city at this time. An undated list of this period gives a total of over 400 
Dutchmen and more than 350 Walloons." 

A special obligation was to furnish " 80 shott of calyvers " (guns). A 
Muster Roll of 27 May, 1577, shows the method pursued. Eighty 
substantial citizens are appointed to "find calyvers," and 80 more men are 
appointed to " serve with the calyvers." The charges for four days' training 
are also given. 

1 In 1346 the demand was for 120 men. In 1350 for 60 men. Rymer Feed. III., 
pt. I., pp. 71, 193- ^ PP- 405. 406. " pp. 407 to 413. 

4 p. 404. = pp. 413 to 4'9- " P- 416- 

cxlvi. Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Additional Note on the Sheriff^ Court of Record. — See p. cxxx., n. 5. 

The Sheriffs' Court for the trial of civil actions was not abolished by 
the Municipal Reform Act of 1835. That Act (5 and 6 Wm. IV., c. 76, 
sec. cxviii.) enacted that such courts, where they existed, should continue, 
and that the official who by charter or custom was at that time Judge of 
such court should " continue to be and act as such Judge." No mention is 
made of a special case like Norwich with its Sheriffs and Steward. If the 
Recorder were the Judge the appointment was to rest with the Crown, in 
other cases with the Town Council. 

Under this authority the Council of Norwich on i Jan., 1836, appointed 
Nathaniel Palmer, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, " Judge of the Court of Record in 
this City'' (Council Book A., p. 11.) 

On the following 9 Feb. (ibm., p. 64), they discontinued the office of 
Steward. "The Committee report that the only duty of the Steward is to 
preside as Judge in the Sheriffs' Court of Record and at the Sessions in the 
absence of the Recorder, and inasmuch as the Judgeship of the Court of 
Record has already been filled up by the Council, and as under the 
provisions of the Municipal Reform Act the Recorder is in future to appoint 
his own Deputy to preside at Sessions in his absence, the Committee 
consider the Office of Steward may be abolished." 

The Court, under the name of the Guildhall Court of Record, now sits 
six times a year. The present Judge is Ernest Edward Wild, Esq., Barrister- 
at-Law, who was appointed in 1897. 


I. Description of Norwich in Domesday Book. 

Hundreduin de Norwic} — In Norwic erant tempore regis 
Edwardi MCCCXX burgenses Quorum unus erat ita dominicus 
regis E. ut non posset recedere nee homagium facere sine licentia 
ipsius," cui erat nomen Edstan, hie habebat xviii acras terre et 
xii prati et ii ecclesias in burgo et sextam partem tercie, et uni 
ecclesie pertinebat una mansura in burgo et vi acre prati hoc" 
tenet Rogerus Bigot de dono regis. Et de MCCXXXVIII habebant 

Hundred of Norwic. — In Norwic there were in the time of King 
Edward 1320 burgesses. Of whom one was so much in demesne of King 
Edward that he could not depart nor do homage without his hcense, whose 
name was Edstan, he had 18 acres of land and 12 of meadow and 2 
churches in the burgh and the 6"' part of a third, and to one church 
belonged one house in the burgh and 6 acres of meadow. This Roger 
Bigot holds by gift of the King. And of 1238 the King and the Earl had 

' Domesday Book, ii. 1 16. 

* This expression, which denotes condition of tenure (Round, Feudal England, 
p. 26), implies that what Edstan held, he held in the King's name and not in his 
own. It was the King's demesne. Yet he was plainly a leading man, and is reckoned 
among the whole number of 1,320 burgesses, not especially among the 1,238 of the 
King and Earl. It may be conjectured that he was the resident Steward or Bailiff of 
the King, and in that capacity acted as Portreeve. This condition of tenure, though 
common in ordinary manors, is very rare in burghs. It occurs twice in Norwich and 
once in Thetford, where 36 tenants held under the same condition. [Domesday Book, 
ii. 119). The other instance in Norwich, as shown below (/. 2, note 2), accords well with the 
explanation of local stewardship. But the large number of burgesses so circumstanced at 
Thetford seems to require a different explanation. 

8 That is, all which had been held by Edstan. 


2 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Rex et Comes socam et sacam et consuetudinem.^ Et super L 
habebat Stigandus socam et sacam et commendationem. Et super 
XXXII habebat Heroldus socam et sacam et commendationem 
Quorum unus erat ita ei dominicus ut non posset recedere nee 
homagium facere sine licentia ipsius.^ Inter totum habebant omnes 
Ixxx acras terre et xx acras et dimidiam prati. Et de istis erat 
una mulier soror Stigandi, xxxii acras terre. Et inter eos omnes 
habebant dimidium molendinum et quartam partem unius moHni 
et adhuc habent. Et adhuc xii acras et dimidiam prati quas 
tuht eis Wihenoc, modo habet Rainaldus filius luonis. Et adhuc 
ii acras prati que iacebant ad ecclesiam Omnium Sanctorum, illas 
etiam tulit Wihenoc et modo habet Rainaldus. Et etiam in 
burgo quedam ecclesia sancti Martini quam tenuit Stigandus 
t. r. E. cum xii acris terre, earn habet modo Willehnus de Noiers 
ad feodum Stigandi. Tenebat etiam Stigandus unam ecclesiam 

soc and sac and custom, and over 50 Stigand had soc and sac and 
commendation, and over 32 Herold had soc and sac and commendation, 
of whom one was so much in his demesne that he could not depart 
nor do homage without his license. On the whole they all had 80 
acres of land and 20 acres and a half of meadow, and of them one was 
a woman the sister of Stigand, [she had] 32 acres of land, and amongst 
them all they had the half of a mill and the 4* part of a mill and they 
still have, and besides 12 acres and a half of meadow which Wihenoc 
took away, now Rainald son of Ivo has them, and besides 2 acres of 
meadow which were laid to the church of All Saints, those also Wihenoc 
took and Rainald now holds. And also in the burgh is a certain church 
of S'- Martin which Stigand held in the time of King Edward with 12 
acres of land, now William de Noiers has it at the fee of Stigand. 

' A contrast is plainly intended between the " consuetude " which the burgesses of 
the King and the Earl had to render and the ' ' commendatio " held by Stigand and 
Harold over their burgesses. Blomefield (Hist., iii. p. II, note 5) is probably right in 
suggesting that the whole of the 1,320 rendered " customs" to the King and Earl in the 
usual proportion ot two parts to the King and one to the Earl. Stigand and Harold 
had seignorial jurisdiction (soke and sake) over their burgesses, including fees of court 
and burgage rents, together with certain personal obligations of service. But all market 
dues, tolls, and other public customs, in relation to which all the burgesses acted in 
common, went to the King and Earl. 

''■ This man held among Harold's burgesses the same position that Edstan did 
among the whole, as presumably Harold's local agent or steward. Stigand's burgesses 
being associated with the adjoinmg manor of Thorpe would need no such local 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 3 

sancti Michaelis, cui adiacent cxii acre terre et vi prati et i caruca, 
hoc tenet Willelmus episcopus set non de episcopatu. Et burgenses 
tenebant xv ecclesias qui bus pertinebant in elemosina clxxxi acre 
terre et prati. Et ecclesiam sancte Trinitatis tenebant t. r. E. xii 
burgenses, modo episcopus de dono regis Willelmi. Rex et comes 
habebant clxxx acras terre. Abbas habuit medietatem ecclesie 
sancti Laurentii et i domum de sancto Edmundo. Hoc erat 
totum tempore regis E. Modo sunt in burgo dclxv burgenses 
Anglici et consuetudines reddunt et cccclxxx bordarii qui propter 
pauperiem nuUam reddunt consuetudinem. Et in ilia terra quam 
tenebat Stigandus t. r. E. manent modo ex illis superioribus 
xxxviiii burgenses et in eadem sunt ix^ mansure vacue.^ Et in 
ilia terra de qua Heroldus habebat socam sunt xv burgenses et 
xvii mansure vacue que sunt in occupatione castelli. Et in burgo 
clxxxx mansure vacue in hoc quod erat in soca regis et comitis 
et Ixxxi in occupatione castelli. In burgo sunt adhuc 1 domus de 
quibus non habet rex suam consuetudinem.^ Ex hiis habet Rainaldus 

Stigand also held a church of S'- Michael to which are laid 112 acres 
of land and 6 of meadow and one plough, this William the Bishop holds 
but not of his bishoprick. And the burgesses held 15 churches to which 
pertained in alms 181 acres of land and meadow, and 12 burgesses held a 
church of Holy Trinity in the time of King Edward, now the Bishop 
of the gift of King William. The King and Earl held 180 acres of land. 
The Abbot had the half of the church of S*- Laurence and one house 
of S'- Edmund. This was the whole in the time of King Edward. 
Now there are in the burgh 665 English burgesses and they render 
customs and 480 bordars who on account of poverty render no custom. 
And in that land which Stigand held in the time of King Edward there 
remain now, of those above-mentioned, 39 burgesses and in it are 9 
houses void. And in that land of which Herold had soc there are 15 
burgesses arid 17 houses void which are in occupation of the castle. 
And in the burgh are 190 houses void in that which was in the soke 
of the King and Earl and 81 in occupation of the castle. In the 
burgh there are moreover 50 houses of which the King has not his 
custom. Of these Rainald a man of Roger Bigot has 2 houses and 2 

1 Blomefield, with reason, would correct this to "xi." 

2 On the reason why so many "mansure" were now void, and the meaning of the 
phrase "in occupacione castelH," see Introduction I. 7. 

3 These 50 are thought to be freeholders by ancient right, but some of them 
might be connected with the obligation of castle-guard. 

4 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

homo Rogeri bigot ii domos et ii mansuras et Robertus Bare ii 
domos et Abbas i domum et Rabel ii domos et ii mansure. Et ii 
mansure quas tenent ii femine et Ascolf anglicus i domum et 
Teodbald homo abbatis sancti E. i domum et Burghard i domum 
et Wala i domum et Willelmus homo Hervi b[urgensis] i domum 
et Meinardus vigil i domum et Mein burgenses' i domum et Hervius 
defc i domum et Radulfus arbalistarius ii domos et i mansuram et 
Hereberd fossator iii domos et Rogerus Petuinus ii domos et 
Meinard homo Abbatis de sancto Benedicto i domum et Petrus 
homo Abbatis sancti E. i mansuram et Euerwinus burgensis i domum 
et Baldewinus i domum et Willelmus i Anglicus i domum et 
Gerardus vigil i domum Robertus lorimarius i mansuram et 
Hildebrand lorimarius i domum et Godwinus burgensis i domum 
et Willelmus homo Hermeri i domum et Gisbertus vigil i domum 
et Fulbertus quidam sacerdos Hermeri i domum et Walterus i 
domum et Reinoldus filius luonis i domum et Ricardus de 
Sentebor i domum et Hugo homo Willelmi de Scoies i domum. 

Et homines episcopi x domos et in propria curia^ episcopi xiiii 

" mansure " and Robert Bare has two houses and the Abbot i house 
and Rabel 2 houses and 2 " mansure," and 2 " mansure " which 2 women 
hold and Ascolf an Englishman has 1 house and Teodbald a man of 
the Abbot of S'- Edmund i house and Burghard i house and Wala i 
house and William a man of Hervy the burgess i house and Meinard 
the watchman i house and Mein the burgess i house and Hervy deB 
I house and Ralph the arbalister 2 houses and i " mansura " and Hereberd 
the ditcher 3 houses and Roger of Poitou 2 houses and Meinard a man 
of the Abbot of S*- Benet i house and Peter a man of the Abbot of 
S'- Edmund i "mansura" and Euerwin the burgess i house and Baldewin 
I house and William an Englishman i house and Gerard the watchman 
I house and Robert the lorimer i "mansura" and Hildebrand the lorimer 
I house and Godwin the burgess i house and William a man of Hermer i 
house and Gisbert the watchman i house and Fulbert a certain priest 
of Hermer i house and Walter i house and Reinold the son of Ivo i house 
and Richard de Sentebor i house and Hugo son of William de Scoies 
I house. 

And the men of the Bishop [have] 10 houses and in the Bishop's 

' This seems to be no more than the name of a burgess. But some take it as a 
title of a class of burgesses, ' ' middle " or lesser burgesses, such as those called 
"minores" in Derby {Domesday Book, i. 280). 

2 Private enclosure. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 5 

mansuie quas dedit W. rex JE. ad principalem sedem episcopatus,' 
et Gislebertus arbalistarius i domum et ii masure et Willelmus 
de Scoies i domum et Meinardus i domum Abbas de Eli i mansura. 
Et in burgo tenent burgenses xliii capellas. Et tota hec Willa 
leddebat t. r. E. xx libras regi et comiti x libras et preter hoc 
xxi solidos et iiii denarios prebendarios et vi sextafios mellis 
et i ursum et vi canes ad ursum Et modo Ixx libras pensum regis 
et c solidos ad numerum de gersuma regine et i asturconem et 
XX libras blancas comiti et xx solidos gersuma adnumerum G. 

Et ecclesiam sanctorum Simonis et Jude tenuit Almarus 
episcopus^ t. r. E., post Erfastus,' modo Willelmus* huic adiacent 
iii partes unius molendini et dimidia acra prati et i mansura et 
non est de episcopatu set de patrimonio Almari episcopi. In 
burgo habet ii acras prati de episcopatu et valent xx solidos. 
Ewicman tenuit t. r. E. i carucatam terre et dimidiam et xvi acras 
de pastura et vii acras prati sub Stigando modo Rainaldus filius 
Ivonis, tunc et post i caruca modo ii, semper valuit xxx solidos. 

own court are 14 "mansura" which King WiUiam gave to .^[rfast] for 
the principal seat of the bishoprick and Gislebert the arbalister [has] i 
house and 2 " mansure " and William de Scoies i house and Meinard 
I house [and] the Abbot of Ely i "mansura." And in the burgh the 
burgesses have 43 chapels. And this whole Vill rendered in the time 
of King Edward ;^2o to the King and j[^\o to the Earl and besides 
this 2rj-. and 4'/. in prebends and 6 sextaries of honey and i bear and 
6 dogs for the bear. And now £,']o by weight to the King and 1005. 
by tale of the Queen's payment and i falcon and ;^2o blanch to the 
Earl and 20^. payment by tale to G[odric]. 

And the church of Saints Simon and Jude Almar the Bishop held 
in the time of King Edward, afterwards Erfast, now William, to it are 
laid 3 parts of i mill and half an acre of meadow and i "mansura" 
and it is not of the bishoprick but of the patrimony of Bishop Almar. 
In the burgh he has 2 acres of meadow of the bishoprick and they are worth 
2o.y. Ewicman held in the time of King Edward i carucate of land 
and an half and 16 acres of pasture and 7 acres of meadow under 
Stigand, now Rainald son of Ivo, then and afterwards i plough now 2, 

1 On this gift, see Introduction I. 8. 

2 Aylmer, brother of Stigand, was Bishop of Elmham from 1047 to 1070. 

3 Succeeded Aylraer as Bishop of Elmham, removed the See to Thetford in 1075, 
and died in 1084. 

4 William de Beaufeu, Bishop of Thetford from 1084 to 109 1. 

6 Selected Records of the City of Norwich 

De burgensibus qui manserunt in burgo de Norwic abierunt' et 
manent in Beccles villa Abbatis sancti Edmundi xxii et vi in 
Humilgar Hundredo et dimiserunt burgum et in Torp regis i et 
in terra Rogeri Bigot i et sub W. de Noies i et Ricardus de 
Sent Cler i. Isti fugientes et alii remanentes omnino sunt vastati 
partim propter forisfacturas R. comitis partim propter arsuram 
partim propter geltum regis partim per Walerannum.^ 

In hoc burgo si vult episcopus potest habere i monetarium. 

In burgo erat quedam vasta domus, banc accepit Rannulfus 
filius Walter! de dono regis. Et Walterus diaconus i domus habet 
in burgo set non fuit t. r. E. et ii acras prati de sancto Sepulcro 
abstulerunt ii homines R. comitis, post rehabuit presbyter concessu 
vicecomitis. Radulfus comes tenuit xiiii acras terre et i acram et 
dimidiam prati post tenuit Aluuardus de Niwetuna. 

Terra burgensiuni. — In Hundret de Humiliart semper Ixxx 
acre et xiiii bordarii et i caruca et iii acre prati et valent xiiii solidi 
et iiii denarii. 

it was always worth 305-. Of the burgesses who dwelt in the burgh 
of Norwich 22 departed and dwell in Beccles a vill of the Abbot of S'- 
Edmund and 6 in Humilgar hundred and have forsaken the burgh, 
in King's Thorp i, and on the land of Roger Bigot i, and under William 
de Noies i and Richard de Sent Cler i. Those who fled and others 
who remain are altogether wasted partly through the forfeitures of Earl 
Ralph, partly through burning, partly because of the King's gelt, partly 
by Waleran. 

In this burgh the Bishop, if he wishes, can have i moneyer. 

In the burgh was a certain waste house, this Rannulf son of Walter 
received of the King's gift. And Walter the deacon has i house in 
the burgh, but it was not in the time of King Edward, and 2 men of 
Earl Ralph took away 2 acres of meadow of Saint Sepulchre, afterwards 
the priest had it again by grant of the Sheriff. Earl Ralph held 14 
acres of land and i acre and an half of meadow, afterwards Alward de 
Newton held them. 

The land of the burgesses in the hundred of Humiliat was always 80 
acres and there were 14 bordars and i plough and 3 acres of meadow 
and they are worth 13^. and ^d. 

^ In consequence of the rebellion of Earl Ralph. See Introduction I. 7. 
2 Round, ( Victoria County Histories, Essex, i. 419), thinks Waleran had farmed 
Norwich as he did Colchester. 

Selected Records of the City of Norivich. 7 

Franci de Norwic} — In nouo Burgo xxxvi burgenses et vi 
anglici et ex annua consuetudine reddebat unus quisque i denarium 
preter forisfacturas, de hoc toto habebat rex ii. partes et comes 
terciam. Modo xli burgenses franci in dominio regis et comitis, 
et Rogerus Bigot habet 1. et Radulfus de Bellafago xiiii et Hermerus 
viii et Robertus arbalistarius v, et Fulcherus homo Abbatis i et Isac 
1 et Radulfus Vise lupi i et in pistrino comitis iii habet Robertus 
Blundus et Wimerus i mansuram vastam. 

Tota hec terra burgensium erat in dominio comitis Radulfi et 
concessit eam regi in commune ad faciendum burgum inter se et 
regem ut testatur vicecomes. Et omnes terre iste tam militum quam 
burgensium reddunt regi suam consuetudinem. Est etiam in nouo 
burgo quedam ecclesia quam fecit Radulfus comes, et eam dedit 
suis capellanis. Modo eam tenet quidam sacerdos vicecomitis de 
dono regis nomine Wala et valet Ix solidos et, quandiu Rodbertus 
Blundus comitatum tenuit, habuit inde unoquoque a° i unciam auri. 
Terre sancti Michahelis de Norwic? Hundret de Taverham. — 
In Tauerham i carucatam terre tenuit sanctus M. tempore regis 

The Frenchmen of Norwich. — In the new Burgh 36 burgesses and 
6 English and of annual custom every one paid xd. besides forfeits, of 
all this the King had two parts and the Earl a third. Now 41 French 
burgesses in the demesne of the King and the Earl, and Roger Bigot has 
50 and Ralph de Bellofago 14 and Hermer 8 and Robert the Arbalister 
5 and Fulcher a man of the Abbot i, and Isaac i, and Ralph Vise de 
Loup I, and in the Earl's bakehouse Robert Blund has 3, and Wimer 
has I waste " mansura." 

All this land of the burgesses was in the demesne of the Earl 
Ralph and he granted it to the King for a common [holding] to make 
a burgh between himself and the King as the Sheriff testifies. And all 
these lands, as well of knights as of burgesses, render to the King their 
custom. There is also in the new burgh a certain church which Earl 
Ralph made and gave it to his chaplains. Now a certain priest of the 
Sheriff holds it by gift of the King, by name Wala and it is worth dos. 
and as long as Robert Blund held the county he had therefrom every 
year an ounce of gold. 

The Lands of St. Michael of Norwich. Hundred of Taverham. — In 
Taverham Saint Michael held r carucate of land in the time of King 

1 For comments on the French or New Burgh, see Introduction I. 6, 

2 Domesday'' Book, ii- 201b, 

8 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Edwardi et Stigandus sub eo semper iiii villani & ii bordarii semper 
i caruca in dominio & i caruca hominum and iiii socmen and ii 
acre terre semper viii acre prati silua xii porcorum & valuit xx 

Edward and Stigand under him. Always 4 villans and 2 bordars, always 
I plough in demesne and i plough of the men and 4 socmen and 2 
acres of land, always 8 acres of meadow [and] wood for 12 swine and it 
was worth 20s. 

II. Extracts from the Early Pipe Rolls. ^ 

1. 31 Henry I. (1130). — Et idem Vicecomes reddit Compotum 
de auxilio de Norwico. In thesauro kxvH. Et in Pardon' per breve 
Regis Burgensibus de Norwico cs. Et Quieti sunt. 

The same Sheriff renders account of the aid of Norwich. In the 
Treasury £2^^. And in pardons [sums excused] by the King's Writ to 
the Burgesses of Norwich looj-. And they are quit. 

2. 3 Hetiiy II. — Idem Vicecomes reddit compotum de Yvixxli. 
de firma dimidii anni de Norwico. 

The same Sheriff renders account of ^^54 of farm of half a year 
of Norwich. 

Et in Norwico per se cviii//. (From Hall, Liber Rubeus Scaccarii, 
iii., 787, 789.) 

3. 4 Henry II. \Translation\ — The same Sheriff renders 
account of 300 marks of silver from the Burgesses of Norwich.^ 
In the Treasury £ig. And in the King's Chamber to Geoffrey 
the Monk [Gaufrido Monacho] £6^ 6s. ?>d. And to the same .^49. 
And to Ralph Fitz Stephen £66 13J. 40?. And he is quit. 

4. 7 Henry II. — Rand' prepositus Norwici debet cs. Walterus 
filius Edstani" debet xb. 

Rand' the Reeve of Norwich owes 1005. Walter Fitz Edstan owes 

1 These are taken from the Public Record Office and are not among the City 

^ Perhaps in return for the King's Charter. See Introduction I. II. 

' This Walter may have been a descendant of the Edstan of Domesday Book, 
See No. I. i. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 9 

5- II Henry II. \Translation\.—k^^m. de Cungesford [Cones- 
ford] renders account of loo marks of amercement [de misericordia]. 
The same sheriff renders account of ;6'ioo for the ship [navi] of 
Norwich. The same ... of 40J. from Yarmouth for the same 
expedition! [exercitu]. 

6. 14 Henry II. — The Burgesses of Norwich render account 
of ;^20o of the same aid.' . . . The Men of Yarmouth . 

7. 19 Henry II. — The Burgesses of Norwich render account 
of ^133 6i-. M. of the Assize [of the King's Demesnes']. In the 
Treasury ;^ioo. And they owe ;^33 6s. %d. 

8. 21 Henry II. — The Burgesses of Norwich owe £\6 of 
the same Assize which remained on account of the destruction 
of war.^ 

9. 29 Henry II. — The Citizens of Norwich render account 
of 80 marks for exchange [cambio] and for having their Hberties* 
and for having respite of an Assize of Novel Disseisin. They 
have paid them into the Treasury and are quit. 

10. 31 Henry II. — The Citizens of Norwich render account 
of 60 marks because they did not have a Jury as they were 
summoned.* In the Treasury .^39 15J. £^d. And they owe 4?. M. 

The Citizens of Norwich render account of 20 marks because 
they have not placed the men of the said city in frankpledge.' 
In the Treasury 10 marks. They owe 10 marks. 

1 1. 32 Henry II. — The balance of the two debts just mentioned 
is accounted for in this year. 

12. 5 Richard I. — The same [Sheriff renders account] in 
payment of 25 knights in the Castle of Norwich for 40 days ^50 

1 Against the Welsh. 

■' For marrying Matilda, the King's daughter. 

' A tax specially laid on the King's Demesnes, in which Norwich was included. 

" Hugh Bigod and the Flemings had sacked the city in 1174. (Blomefield, Hist, 
Norf., iii. 32. Chron. of Jordan Fantosme, p. 38.) 

^ Blomefield (iii. 34) erroneously connects this with Henry's Charter, which he 
consequently misdates. See Introduction I. 11. 

^ This may refer to the Assize mentioned in the last entry. 

' On Frankpledge in Norwich, see Introduction II. 4. The neglect of the citizens 
to place the organisation in proper order would not of necessity imply that they had 
as yet control of it themselves. 

lo Selected Records of the City of Norwich, 

by the same writ. And in payment of 25 mounted servants 
[servientium equitum] for the same term in the same castle 
£\6 11$. 4d. by the same writ. And in payment of 25 servants 
on foot [servientium peditum] there for the same term ;^8 6s. 8d. 
by the same writ.^ 

13. 6 Richard I. — Homines de Norwic' redd' comp' de liiij/«. 
blanc' de firma ville de Norwiz de dimidio anno. In thesauro 
xlix/z. ijj. iiij^f. blanc'. Et in monialibus de Charrou'' xijj. v)d. de 
dimidio anno. Et monetariiMx.?. Et debent xxviijj. vija?'. blanc' * 

The men of Norwich render account of ;^S4 blank of the farm of 
the vill of Norwich for ha:lf a year. In the Treasury ;^49 2S. d,d. blank. 
And in the Nuns of Carrow i2i. dd. for half a year. And the Moneyers 
601. And they owe 281. id. blank. 

Same year. — Gives de Norwico reddunt compotum de cc 
marcis pro habenda confirmacione libertatum Civitatis sue per 
cartam domini Regis Ricardi et pro habenda civitate in manu 
sua ita ut respondeant de firma debita ad Scaccarium in termino 
sancti Michaelis. In thesauro liberaverunt. Et quieti sunt." 

14. 7 Richard I. — The Citizens of Norwich render account 
of ;^io8 blank of farm for this year. In the Treasury £g6 \6s. id. 
And in the Nuns of Carrow 25J. And in default of moneyers £6. 
And they owe ;£'4 6s. 2d. blank.° 

1 This entry does not properly concern the Citizens of Norwich. It belongs to 
the Sheriff's Account for the County of Norfolk. It is inserted as a specimen of several 
interesting entries relating to the Castle in the early Pipe Rolls. 

2 An abatement of 25J. on the yearly fee farm rent was allowed on account of a 
grant of land to that annual value made by King Stephen for the foundation of Carrow 
Nunnery. (Rot. Pat., 26 Hen. VI.) 

' Norwich was allowed 6 Moneyers. If their services had been suspended for a 
year, an abatement of £1 for each so suspended was made in the "firma." 

* "Blank" money was bullion blanched or tested by fire. Instead of the testing, 
the persons accounting to the Exchequer might tender an addition of one shilling in 
the pound with proportionate parts. Thus, for ;^lo8 blank the accepted tender was 
;^II3 8j. od. The Pipe Roll of 32 E. III. states, "The Citizens of Norwich owe 
;^II3 8j-. od. by tale for £io?> blank of the fee farm of their town as is contained in 
the 5th and 14th Rolls of Edward son of King Henry.'' The balance of " £1 is. 'jd. 
blank" seems to be arrived at by reckoning the ;^3 lis. 6d. abatement as equivalent to 
;^3 gj. id. blank. 

^ For translation, see Introduction II. 2. 

6 In this year the Norwich farm is entered as an addition to the account of the 
Sheriff of Norfolk, as is that of Ipswich, which had also commenced the previous year. 
After this year both are entered separately. In this statement £<)6 i6s. id. must be 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 1 

III. Charter of King Henry 11." [c. 1158.] 

Henricus Rex Anglie et Dux Normannie et Aquitanie et 
Comes Andegavie omnibus Archiepiscopis Episcopis Abbatibus 
Comitibus Baronibus Justiciariis Vicecomitibus Ministris et omnibus 
fidelibus suis Francis et Anglis salutem. Sciatis me concessisse 
et presenti carta confirmasse burgensibus meis de Norwico omnes 
consuetudines et libertates et quietancias quas habebant tempore 
Henrici Regis avi mei ita plene et honorifice et quiete sicut ipsi 
eas plenius et honorabilius et quietius habuerunt tempore Regis 
Henrici avi mei. Quare volo et firmiter precipio quod omnes illas 
habeant plene et honorifice sicut eas tunc habuerunt tam consuetu- 
dines suas quam etiam responsa sua tempore meo et temporibus 
heredum meorum et si aliquis post mortem Regis Henrici avi 
mei in tempore Regis Stephani a consuetudinibus eorum et scottis 
se foras misit precipio quod ad eorum societatem et consuetudinem 
revertatur et scottum ipsorum sequatur quia nullum ex eis inde 
quietum clamo. Testibus Willelmo fratre Regis, Henrico de Essexia 
Constabulario, Ricardo de Humes Constabulario, Manasse Biset 
Dapifero, Warino filio Geroldi Camerario, apud Westmonasterium.^ 


Henry King of England and Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine and 
Count of Anjou to all Archbishops Bishops Abbots Earls Barons Justices 
Sheriffs Ministers and all his faithful [subjects] French and English 
greeting. Know that I have granted and by [this] present charter have 
confirmed to my burgesses of Norwich all the customs and liberties and 
quittances which they had in the time of King Henry my grandfather 
as fully and honourably and quietly as they most fully and honourably 
and quietly had them in the time of King Henry my grandfather. 
Wherefore I will and firmly enjoin that they have them all fully and 

"blank," and the abatements of £"] Sj. od. must be reckoned as £(1 !•]$. gri. blank. 
The City Mint was entirely suspended. For some remarks on this matter, see Andrew, 
in Numismatic Chronicle, 4th Series,^Vol. I., pp. 326 et seq. ; and Round in Eng. 
Hist. Jiev., April, 1903, p. 305. 

1 On this Charter and its date, see Introduction I. 11. The tin box in which the 
Charter has been kept for a long time is inscribed "S H. II," which year began 19th 
December, 1158. But Henry was not in England at any time during that year of his 

2 Only fragments of the Seal remain. 

1 2 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

honourably as they had them then, as well their customs as their answers, 
in my time and in the time of my heirs, and if any one after the death 
of King Henry my grandfather, in the time of King Stephen, withdrew 
himself from their customs and scots, I enjoin that he return to their 
society and custom and follow their scot because I quitclaim no one 
of them therefrom. [These being] witnesses, William brother of the King, 
Henry de Essex Constable, Richard de Humes Constable, Manasseh Biset 
Steward, Warin FitzGerold Chamberlain, [Given] at Westminster. 

IV. Charter of King Richard I.^ [5 May, 1194.J 

Ricardus Dei gratia Rex Anglie Dux Normannie Aquitanie 
Comes Andegavie Archiepiscopis Episcopis Abbatibus Comitibus 
Baronibus Justiciariis Vicecomitibus Ballivis Ministris et omnibus 
fidelibus suis Francis et Anglis salutem. Sciatis nos concessisse 
ciuibus nostris Norwici quod nullus eorum placitet extra ciuitatem 
Norwici de nullo placito preter placita de tenuris exterioribus, 
exceptis monetariis et ministris nostris. Concessimus eis eciam 
quietanciam murdri''' et gawitam' infra ciuitatem et quod nullus 
eorum faciat duellum* et quod de placitis ad coronam pertinentibus 
se possint disracionare secundum consuetudinem ciuitatis Londonie, 
et quod infra ciuitatem illam nemo hospitetur uel capiat quicquam 
per uim. Hoc eciam eis concessimus quod omnes ciues Norwici 
sint quieti de thelonio et lestagio^ per totam Angliam et portus 
maris, et quod nullus de misericordia pecunie iudicetur nisi 
secundum legem quam habent ciues nostri Londonie, et quod in 
ciuitate ilia in nullo placito sit miskenninga," et quod husting' semel 
in ebdomada tantum teneatur, et quod terras suas et tenuras et 
vadia sua et debita sua omnia iuste habeant quicunque eis debeat, 
et de terris suis et tenuris que infra ciuitatem sunt rectum eis 
teneatur secundum consuetudinem ciuitatis, et de omnibus debitis 
suis que accommodata fuerint apud Norwicum et de uadiis ibidem 
factis placita apud Norwicum teneantur. Et si quis in tota Anglia 

■ See Introduction II. i. 
'■* A fine for an unexplained murder. 

" A fine for neglecting to keep watch and ward. (Gross, Gild Merchant, ii., 
p. 405.) 

* A judicial combat. 

* A payment for trading in markets and fairs. 

'^ Probably an arbitrary fine for an alleged variation in a plea during the pleading. 
' A Danish name for a borough court, chiefly used in London, See Introduction 
XI. I. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 3 

thelonium uel consuetudinem ab hominibus Norwici ceperit post- 
quam a recto defecerit Prepositus Norwici namium inde apud 
Norwicum capiat.* Has predictas consuetudines eis concessimus 
et omnes alias libertates et liberas consuetudines quas habuerunt 
uel habent ciues nostri Londonie quando meliores uel liberiores 
habuerunt secundum libertates Londonie et leges ciuitatis Norwici. 
Quare uolumus et firmiter precipimus quod ipsi ciues et heredes 
eorum hec omnia predicta cum ciuitate et pertinenciis eius hereditarie 
habeant et teneant de nobis et de heredibus nostris reddendo per 
annum centum et octo libras esterlingorum numero^ de Ciuitate 
Norwici per manum prepositi Norwici ad Scaccarium nostrum in 
termino Sancti Michaelis. Et ciues Norwici faciant prepositos" de 
se per annum qui sint idonei nobis et eis. Hiis testibus, Herberto, 
Sarisburiensi Electo, Willelmo de Sancte Marie ecclesia, Decano 
Moreton, Magistro Eustachio Decano Sarisburiensi, Magistro Philippo, 
Comite Willelmo Sarisburiensi, Gaufrido filio Petri, Roberto filio 
Rogeri, Roberto de Tresgoz Dapifero, Willelmo de Mallion, Willelmo 
de Stagno. Data apud Portesmutam per manum Willelmi de 
Longo Campo Elyensis Episcopi Cancellarii nostri Quinto die 
Mali Regni nostri anno quinto.* 


Richard by the grace of God King of England Duke of Normandy 
[and] Aquitaine Count of Anjou to the Archbishops Bishops Abbots Earls 
Barons Justices Sheriffs Bailiffs Ministers and all his faithful subjects 
French and English greeting. Know that we have granted to our citizens 
of Norwich that none of them plead outside the city of Norwich concerning 
any plea except pleas of outside tenures, our moneyers and ministers 
excepted. We have also granted to them quittance of murder and gawite 
within the city, and that none of them wage battle, and that concerning 
pleas beloftging to the crown they may clear themselves according to 
the custom of the city of London, and that no one shall lodge within 
the city or take anything by force. This also we have granted to 
them that all the citizens of Norwich be quit of toll and lastage 

1 The process called "withernam," or seizure of goods by way of reprisal. The 
goods of any trader from the town whence the offender came might be seized. 

2 By tale or count. It appears, however, from the Pipe Rolls of 6 and 7 Rich. I., 
and from the Charter of King John, that the farm actually demanded was £\Q& blank, 
or £\IZ 8j. od. by tale. See above, No. II. 13. 

3 As to the question whether there may have been two Reeves at this time, see 
Introduction II. II. 

Seal in red wax, in fairly perfect condition. 

1 4 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

through all England and the ports of the sea. And that none of 
them be judged in an amercement of money save according to the 
law which our citizens of London have. And that in the city there 
be no miskenning in any plea. And that the busting be held once 
only in the week. And that they may justly hold their lands 
and tenures and their bonds and all their debts, whoever owes to 
them ; and that concerning their lands and tenures which are within 
the city right shall be done to them according to the custom of the 
city; and concerning all their debts which shall have been contracted 
at Norwich and bonds there made pleas shall be held at Norwich. And 
if any one in all England shall have taken toll or custom from the men 
of Norwich, after he has made default in [doing] right, the Reeve of 
Norwich may take a distress therefor at Norwich. These aforesaid customs 
we have granted to them and all other liberties and free customs which 
our citizens of London had or have, when they had the best and freest, 
according to the liberties of London and the laws of the city of Norwich. 
Wherefore we will and firmly enjoin that the said citizens and their heirs 
have and hold hereditarily of us and of our heirs all the aforesaid [grants] 
together with the city and its appurtenances rendering yearly ^io8 sterling 
by tale from the City of Norwich by the hand of the Reeve of 
Norwich at our Exchequer at the term of S'- Michael. And the citizens 
of Norwich may make Reeves of themselves yearly such as shall be 
agreeable to us and them. These being witnesses, Herbert, Bishop Elect 
of Salisbury, William of S'- Mary Church, Dean of Mortain, Master 
Eustace, Dean of Salisbury, Master Philip, William Earl of Salisbury, 
Geoffrey FitzPeter, Robert FitzRoger, Robert de Tresgoz, Steward, 
William de Mallion, William de Stagno. Given at Portsmouth by the 
hand of William de Longchamp, Bishop of Ely, our Chancellor, on the 
5th day of May in the 5th year of our reign. 

V. Charter of King John. [22 Sept. 1199.] 

The same as the preceding Charter, issued in the name of 
John, with the following differences : — 

In the style after " Rex Anglie " is added " Dominus Hybernie." 
In the address, after "Sheriffs" comes "to Reeves and all 

In the render, instead of " numero " is " blanceas." 

Witnesses : Herbert Bishop of Salisbury, Simon Archdeacon 

of Welles, John de Grey, John de Brauncester, Ralph Earl of 

Chester, William Earl of Arundell, Robert Earl of Leicester, Philip 

FitzRobert, William de Huntingfeld. " Given by the hand of 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 15 

Hubert Archbishop of Canterbury our Chancellor at Caen the 
22nd day of September in the first year of our reign." ^ 

VI. First Charter of King Henry III. [13 Feb. 1228/9.] 

The same as the preceding, issued in Henry's name, with one 

After " may make Reeves of themselves yearly such as shall 
be agreeable to us and them " is added " as the Charters of King 
Henry our Grandfather' and Richard our Uncle and the lord king 
John our Father which they have thereon reasonably testify." 

The Charter then proceeds : 

" We have granted also to the said citizens and we enjoin 
that all those who have residence in the city of Norwich and who 
have shared in the liberties which we have granted to the said 
citizens of Norwich may be taxed and give aid as the aforesaid 
citizens of Norwich when tallages and aids shall have been laid 
upon them. We have also granted to them for us and our heirs 
that if any one has withdrawn himself from their customs and 
scots, he return to their society and custom and follow their scot, 
so that none be quit thereof These being witnesses, Joceline 
Bishop of Bath, Richard Bishop of Durham, Walter Bishop of 
Carlisle, Hubert de Burgh Earl of Kent Justiciar of England, 
Stephen de Segrave, Philip de Albany, Nicholas de Molis, John 
FitzPhilip, Richard FitzHugh, and others. Given by the hand 
of the venerable Father Ralph Bishop of Chichester our 
Chancellor, at V/estminster on the 13th day of February in the 
13th year of our reign."" 

VII. Second Charter of Henry HI." [3 June, 1255.] 

Henricus Dei gratia Rex Anglie . . . salutem. Sciatis 
nos concessisse & hac carta nostra confirmasse dilectis ciuibus 
nostris de Norwico quod ipsi & eorum heredes in perpetuum 
habeant banc libertatem per totam terram & potestatem nostram 

1 No Seal left. 

2 The Charter of Henry II. makes no mention of Reeves. The title must be 
understood here to include " BaiUffs," who must for some years have been substituted 
for "Reeves." 

3 There is a duplicate ; both Seals fragmentary. 
* Introduction III. 4. 

1 6 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

videlicet quod ipsi vel eorum bona quocunque locorum in potestate 
nostra inuenta non arestentur pro aliquo debito de quo fideiussores 
aut principales debitores non extiterint nisi forte ipsi debitores de 
eorum sint communa et potestate habentes unde de debitis suis in 
toto vel in parte satisfacere possint et dicti cives creditoribus eorundem 
debitorum in iusticia defuerint & de hoc racionabiliter constare 
possit. Quare volumus & firmiter precipimus pro nobis & 
heredibus nostris quod predicti cives et eorum heredes in per- 
petuum habeant banc libertatem prescriptam per totam terram & 
potestatem nostram sicut predictum est. Et prohibemus super 
forisfacturam nostram decem librarum ne quis eos contra libertatem 
predictam in aliquo iniuste vexet disturbet vel inquietet. Hiis 
testibus Venerabilibus patribus Fulcone London' Waltero Wygorn' 
episcopis, Johanne de Plessetis comite Warrewyk, Johanna Maunsell 
preposito Beuerlac, Henrico de Bathon', Henrico de Bretton, Willelmo 
de Grey, Imberto Pogeis, Willelmo de Sancta Ermin, Petro Euerard 
& aliis. Data per manum nostram apud Wodestok tercio die Junii 
anno regni nostri tricesimo nono.' 


Henry by the grace of God King of England . . . greeting. 
Know that we have granted ... to our beloved citizens of Norwich 
. . . that they or their goods in whatsoever place within our power they 
may be found may not be arrested for any debt concerning which they have 
not been sureties or principal debtors, unless it chance that the said 
debtors be of their commune and power having whereof they can give 
satisfaction concerning their debts in whole or in part and the said 
citizens have failed in justice to the creditors of the said debtors. Where- 
fore we will . . . These being witnesses, the Venerable Fathers 
Fulk Bishop of London, Walter Bishop of Worcester, John de Plessis 
Earl of Warwick, John Maunsell Reeve of Beverly, Henry de Bath, 
Henry de Bretton, William de Grey, Imbert Pogeis, William de S'- Ermin, 
Peter Everard, and others. Given by our hand at Woodstock on the 3rd 
day of June in the 39th year of our reign. 

VIII. Third Charter of Henry III.^ [25 March, 1256.] 

Henricus &c. . . . salutem. Sciatis nos concessisse & hac- 
carta nostra confirmasse pro nobis & heredibus nostris dilectis 
ciuibus nostris de Norwico quod ipsi in perpetuum habeant returnum 

' With duplicate j both Seals much damaged. ^ Introduction III. 4. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 7 

omnium breuium nostrorum tam de summonicionibus scaccarii nostri 
quam de aliis ciuitatem nostram de Norwico & libertatem eiusdem 
Ciuitatis tangentibus & quod iidem Ciues respondeant ad scaccarium 
nostrum per manus suas proprias de omnibus debitis & demandis 
ipsos Ciues contingentibus. Et quod nullus Vicecomes aut alius 
Balliuus noster decetero intret ciuitatem predictam ad districtiones 
faciendas pro aliquibus debitis nisi est pro defectu Ciuium predic- 
torum & quod nullus eorum compellatur ad placitandum extra 
ciuitatem predictam pro aliquibus transgressionibus in ciuitate ilia 
factis contra tenorem cartarum suarum & contra libertates suas. 
Et quod singuli mercatores communicantes libertatibus suis & 
mercandisis sint ad lottum & scottum eorundem ciuium & ad 
auxilia prestanda ubicunque fecerint residenciam sicut esse debent 
& solent. Et quod nulla Gilda^ decetero teneatur in ciuitate predicta 
ad detrimentum eiusdem ciuitatis. Quare volumus & firmiter 
precipimus pro nobis & heredibus nostris quod predicti ciues in 
perpetuum habeant omnes libertates prescriptas sicut predictum est. 
Et prohibemus super forisfacturam nostram ne quis contra hanc 
libertatem & concessionem nostram ipsos inquietare molestare vel 
grauare presumat. Hiis testibus Venerabili patre W. Norwicensi 
episcopo Guidone de Lezign' & WiUelmo de Valenc' fratribus nostris 
Rogero de Thurkilly Magistro Simone de Wauton Willelmo de Grey 
Guidone de Rocheford Petro Euerard Bartholomeo le Bigot Willelmo 
Gernun & aliis Data per manum nostram apud Norwicum vicesimo 
quinto die Marcii anno Regni nostri quadragesimo.'' 


Henry, &c. . . . greeting. Know that we have granted . . 
to our beloved Citizens of Norwich that they may for ever have return 
of all our writs as well of summonses of our Exchequer as of others 
touching our City of Norwich and its liberty. And that the said Citizens 
may answer to our exchequer by their own proper hands concerning all 
debts and demands touching the said Citizens. And that no Sheriff or 
other Bailiff of ours henceforth enter the aforesaid City to make distraints 
for any debts unless it is for default of the aforesaid Citizens & that none 
of them be compelled to plead outside the city tor any trespasses done in the 
city, contrary to the tenor of their charters & contrary to their liberties. 

1 Craft Gild not Merchant Gild. The clause will be considered in Vol. II., in 
connection with the City Gilds. 

2 Both Seals, in green wax, in fair condition. 

1 8 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

And that all merchants sharing in their liberties and merchandise be at 
the lot & scot of the said citizens & at contributing aids wheresoever they 
make their residence as they ought & are wont to be. And that no Gild 
henceforth be held in the city to the detriment of the said city. Wherefore 
we will . . . These being witnesses, the Venerable Father William 
Bishop of Norwich, Guy de Lusignan & William de Valence our brothers, 
Roger de Thurkilly, Master Simon de Walton, William de Grey, Guy de 
Rocheford, Peter Everard, Bartholomew Bigot, William Gernun & others. 
Given by our hand at Norwich on the zsth day of March in the 40th 
year of our reign. 

IX. First Charter of Edward ist. {Abstract!) [27 May, 1285.J 

Edward by the grace of God &c greeting. We 

have inspected a Charter which the lord Henry King of England 
our father made to our citizens of Norwich in these words, Henry 


[Then follows the Charter of 13 Henry III.] 

We have inspected also a Charter of the said lord Henry &c. 
[Then follows the Charter of 40 Henry HI] 

Now we ratifying & approving th-e grants with respect to the 
said liberties made to our citizens of Norwich for us & our heirs 
as much as in us is grant & confirm them as the aforesaid charters 
reasonably testify. 

Witnesses, the Venerable Fathers Robert Bishop of Bath and 
Wells, Anthony Bishop of Durham & Thomas Bishop of S'' Asaph, 
Edmund our brother, William de Valence our Uncle, Edward Earl 
of Cornwall, Gilbert de Clare Earl of Gloucester & Hertford, Roger 
le Bygod Earl of Norfolk & Marshall of England, John de Warren 
Earl of Surrey, Henry de Lacy Earl of Lincoln, William de 
Beauchamp Earl of Warwick, Richard de Burgh Earl of Ulster, 
John de Vesey, Reginald de Grey, Robert Tybotot, Thomas de 
Weylaund, John de Lovetot and others. Given by our hand at 
Westminster on the 27th day of May in the 13th year of our 


X. Second Charter of Edward I. {Translation.) [8 July, 1305.] 

Edward by the grace of God &c greeting. Know 

that for a fine which our Citizens of our City of Norwich have 

1 With duplicate ; both Seals, in green wax, much damaged. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 9 

made with us before our Council and for 10 pounds annual which 

the said Citizens and their successors Citizens of the said City 

shall pay to us every year for ever to our exchequer & of our 

heirs in augmentation of their farm of the aforesaid City have 

granted & by this our charter have confirmed to the said Citizens 

& their successors for us & our heirs that none of them plead or 

be impleaded outside the said City of Norwich of any pleas assizes 

or plaints concerning any tenures being within the said city nor 

of any trespasses or contracts done within the city unless the 

matter specially touches us or our heirs. And that the said 

Citizens or their successors shall not be convicted by any foreigners 

upon any internal appeals accusations claims trespasses contracts 

or demands but only by their fellow citizens unless the deed touches 

us or our heirs or the whole community of the city.^ And also 

that they be not summoned nor put on any assizes juries or 

inquests concerning internal tenures or with respect to any deed 

contract claim or plaint in any way arising in the said city nor 

make any recognisances in those assizes or juries outside the said 

City unless the deed specially touches us or our heirs. We have 

further granted to the said Citizens for us & our heirs that they & 

their successors for ever be quit of toll pontage passage murage 

pavage lastage carriage picage cayage & rivage through our whole 

kingdom & power. And that no one of the said City or any 

other in the said City indicted or arrested for any fault or cause 

soever shall be imprisoned anywhere save in our prison of the 

said City but all there indicted or arrested shall be detained in 

that prison & guarded by our bailiffs of the said City until they 

shall be delivered therefrom according to the law & custom of 

our kingdom, unless they be removed therefrom by special precept 

of us or our heirs or by precept of our Justice of the Forest for 

the time being if perchance they be indicted for any trespass of 

the forest & on that charge^ taken and detained. And that all 

summonses distraints & attachments & other regal offices whatsoever" 

which shall arise within the said City or its suburbs shall be executed* 

by our bailiffs of the said City. So that no Sheriff Coroner or 

other foreign Bailiff or Minister of ours shall exercise or in any 

^ Et quod Ciues illi vel successores sui predict! super aliquibus appellis reclis 
calumpniis transgressionibus contractibus aut demandis intrinsecis . per aliquos forinsecos 
minime conuincantur set solummodo per conciues suos &c. 

^ Ea occasione. * Alia ofiicia regalia. '' Facienda fiant. 

20 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

way execute any regal office in the City that is to say within the 
ditches of the said City & the river of Wensum or in the suburb 
aforesaid unless in default of our bailiffs of the City. And it 
shall be lawful for our bailiffs of the said City for the time being to 
assess as often as need shall be tallages & other reasonable aids upon 
the Community of the said City by assent of the whole Community 
or the greater part thereof for the protection and common utility 
of the City within itself and for levying those tallages & aids to 
make reasonable distraints as heretofore in other Cities has 
reasonably been wont to be done. And we have granted to them 
for us & our heirs that they & their successors have & hold our 
leet of Neugate^ in the said City which we have lately recovered 
against the Prior of the Holy Trinity of Norwich in our Court 
before us by decision^ of the said court & which is valued at 2 
shillings yearly" & that they receive amercements & all other 
profit issuing therefrom in any way for ever. And if perchance 
the Citizens have heretofore not fully used any of the liberties 
before granted to them or their successors citizens of the said City 
by charters of us or our progenitors sometime Kings of England 
we will & grant for us & our heirs that they & their successors 
may reasonably enjoy & use those liberties, at whatever time 
occasion shall henceforth occur that they may use them, fully & 
without hindrance of us or our heirs or our ministers whomsoever. 

Wherefore we will &c These being witnesses, the 

Venerable Fathers Richard Archbishop of Canterbury Primate of 
All England, A[nthony] Bishop of Durham, Humfrey de Bohun 
Earl of Hereford & Essex, Guy de Beauchamp Earl of Warwick, 
John de Britain junior, Robert de Clifford, William de Brewse, 
William de Leyburne, Thomas de Bykenore and others. Given by 
our hand at Canterbury on the 8th day of July in the 33rd year 
of our reign.* 

On the dorse. 

Irrotulatur in Banco coram R. de Hengham & sociis suis Justiciariis 
&c. in secundo rotulo de cartis & protectionibus irrotulatis de termino Sci 
Michaelis anno regni regis E. filii regis H. tricesimo tercio. 

Irrotulata est in rotulis Regis coram ipso Rege in termino Pasche 
Anno regni ipsius Regis Edwardi tricesimo quarto. Rotulo xliiij°. 

1 Newgate was the district traversed by the street now called Surrey Street. 

2 Consideracionem. 

8 Ad duos solidos extenditur per annum. 
* With dupHcate ; both Seals damaged. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 2 1 

XI. First Charter of Edward II.i {Translation.) [2 February, 

Edward by the grace of God &c greeting. Know 

ye that whereas our beloved Citizens of our City of Norwich hold 
of us our aforesaid City at fee farm & the said Citizens have 
given us to understand that by the frequent comings of our 
Justices assigned" to take assizes juries & certifications & inquests 
concerning felonies & trespasses & also to deliver our gaols who 
have held their sessions in divers places within the liberty of the 
said City appointed for the holding by the Bailiffs of the said 
City of pleas arising in tlie said City, wherefrom great part of 
the said farm issues & have disturbed the said Bailiffs from being 
able to hold those pleas, they have many times been hindered in 
the collection & levying of their farm aforesaid, to the grievous 
damage of the said Citizens, and they have made supplication to 
us that for their indemnity in that part we would ordain & enjoin 
that such sessions be held only in our house which is called 
Shirehouse' & which is in the fee of our Castle of the aforesaid 
City, & not elsewhere within the liberty of that City, We favourably 
approving their supplication in the premisses will & firmly enjoin 
for us and our heirs that henceforth the Justices Inquisitors & 
other Ministers of us & our heirs whosoever they be who are 
assigned for taking any assizes juries certifications & inquests 
whatsoever or for delivering our gaols or in future to be assigned 
shall sit & hold their sessions in our house aforesaid which is called 
Shirehous & not elsewhere within the liberty of the aforesaid City. 
By this nevertheless we do not will that prejudice should be 
done to our Chancellor Treasurers Chief Justice or Justices 
Itinerant or the Steward & Marshalls of the household of us 
or our heirs that they or any of them when they come to 
the said City should not sit within the said City & do & exercise 
the things which belong to them or any of them where & when 
it shall seem to them to be convenient. In witness whereof we 

1 Incorrectly assigned by Blomefield to 19 Edward I. For its meaning, see 
Introduction IV. I. 

2 County Knights and others appointed frequently by special commission to take 
assizes of novel disseisin, &c., and try disputes and charges of felony and to deliver 
the gaols. They were superseding the older Itinerant Justices. No general "Iter" 
is recorded in Norfolk after 14 Edward I. 

3 The County Court of the Sheriff of Norfolk. It was in the Castle Fee and 
under the jurisdiction of the County, not of the City. 

2 2 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

have caused these our letters to be made patent. Witness myself^ 
at Walsingham on the second day of February in the 19th year 
of our reign. ^ 

Edwardus &c salutem. Sciatis quod cum dilecti nobis 

Ciues Ciuitatis nostra Norwyci teneant de nobis Ciuitatem predictam ad 
feodi firmam et iidem Ciues nobis dederunt intelligi quod per frequentes 
aduentus Justiciariorum nostrorum ad assissas iuratas & certificaciones 
ac ad inquisiciones de feloniis & transgressionibus capiendas necnon ad 
gaolas nostras deliberandas assignatorum qui in diuersis locis infra liber- 
tatem Ciuitatis predicte ad placita in eadem Ciuitate emergencia per 
Balliuos eiusdem Ciuitatis tenenda deputatis unde magna pars firme 
predicte prouenit sessiones suas fecerunt, & ipsos Balliuos quominus placita 
ilia tenere possent perturbarunt impediti fuerunt multipliciter in collectione 
& leuatione firme sue predicte in ipsorum ciuium graue dampnum, & 
nobis supplicauerunt ut pro ipsorum indempnitate in hac parte ordinare 
velimus & precipere quod sessiones huiusmodi in domo nostra que vocatur 
Shirehous & que est in feodo Castri nostri Ciuitatis predicte fiant tantum- 
modo & non alibi infra libertatem Ciuitatis illius Nos ipsorum supplicacioni 
in premissis fauorabiliter annuentes volumus & firmiter precipimus pro 
nobis & heredibus nostris quod decetero Justiciarii Inquisitores & alii 
ministri nostri & heredum nostrorum quicumque assissas iuratas certifica- 
ciones & inquisiciones quascumque capieiadas aut ad gaolas nostras 
deliberandas assignati seu in posterum assignandi sedeant & sessiones 
suas teneant in domo nostra predicta que vocatur Shirehous & non alibi 
infra libertatem Ciuitatis supradicte. Per hoc tamen preiudicium fieri 
nolumus Cancellario Thesaurariis Capitali Justiciario vel Justiciariis 
itinerantibus seu Senescallo & Marescallis hospicii nostri vel heredum 
nostrorum quin ipsi & eorum quilibet cum ad Ciuitatem predictam 
declinauerint vel declinauerit infra libertatem predictam sedere & ea que 
ad ipsos vel eorum aliquem pertinent facere & exercere possint vel possit 
ubi & quando sibi visum fuerit expedire, &c. 

XII. Second Charter of Edward II. [3 February, 1325/6.] 

Edward by the grace of God Sic greeting. We 

have inspected a Charter of .Confirmation which the Lord Edward 
sometime King of England our father made to our Citizens of 
Norwich in these words : 

1 That the grantor of these letters patent was Edward II. is proved by the fact 
that in the Charter of I Richard II. he is called " proavus noster," our great-grandfather. 
(No. XV.) 

* Seal damaged. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 23 

[Here follows the Charter of 27 May 13 Edward I.] 
We have also inspected a certain other Charter which our 
said father made to the citizens of Norwich in these words : 
[Here follows the Charter of 8 July 33 Edward I.] 
Now we ratifying and approving &c. These being witnesses 
Thomas Earl of Norfolk & Marshall of England our most dear 
brother, Hugh le Despenser lord of Glamorgan, Robert de Montalt, 
Thomas Bardolf, Thomas le Blount Steward of our household & 
others. Given by our hand at Walsingham on the 3rd day of 
February in the 19th year of our reign.^ 

By the King himself (It is duplicated) Seintpol. 

Examined by Michael de Wath. 

XIII. First Charter of Edward III. [4 October 1337.J 

Edward by the grace of God King of England Lord of Ireland 

and Duke of Aquitaine &c greeting. We have inspected 

a Charter of Confirmation of the Lord Edward of famous memory 

late King of England our father in these words : 

[Here follows the preceding Charter of 3 February 19 Edward II.] 

Now we ratifying & approving &c. 

Witnesses, the Venerable Fathers John Archbishop of Canter- 
bury Primate of All England, Henry Bishop of Lincoln, Master 
Robert de Stretford Elect & confirmed of Chichester our Chancellor 
[Electo Cicestr' confirmato Canceliario nostro], Henry de Lancaster 
Earl of Derby, William de Montacute Earl of Salisbury, Henry de 
Ferrariis, John Darcy le Cosyn Steward of our household & others. 
Given by our hand at Westminster on the 4th day of October in 
the nth year of our reign.^ 

For a fine of 10 marcs. (In duplicate) Wich. 

XIV. Second Charter of Edward III." [9 August, 1345.] 

Edward'' by the grace of God King of England and France 

&c greeting. The Bailiffs & Citizens of our City of 

Norwich have made supplication to us that whereas, because the 
men living & residing in divers places inhabited about the ditches 

1 With duplicate ; one Seal fairly perfect. 

2 With duplicate ; one Seal in green wax fairly perfect. 
8 Introduction IV, i:. 

24 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

of our Castle of the said City which are of the fee of the said 
Castle which is in geldable are exempt from the jurisdiction of 
the Bailiffs of the said City, very many felons & evil doers indicted 
or accused of felonies & trespasses in the same city fly to the 
said fee & there are harboured by those residing under the 
jurisdiction of our Sheriff of Norfolk and his bailiffs so that 
concerning the said felons & evil doers justice cannot be done 
by the Bailiffs of our said City and so such felons & evil doers 
remain unpunished & thereupon take to themselves greater bold- 
ness of offending to the breach of our peace & the pernicious 
example of offendors, we should be willing henceforth to grant 
to the said citizens jurisdiction in the aforesaid places. So that 
those places should be of such nature and condition as are other 
places & tenements of the Citizens of the said City in the City 
& that the said Bailiffs should be able to have full cognisance 
of pleas as well concerning tenures of the said fee as concerning 
any other pleas arising within the said fee by our writs & returns 
of writs & of summonses of our exchequer & execution of the 
same 8z: to enquire concerning all trespasses felonies & harbouring 
of felons and fugitives whatsoever occurring within the said fee 
& to do justice thereon according to the law & custom of the said 
City. And that the residents upon places of the said fee should 
be bound to pay towards tallages aids contributions & scots with the 
men of the said City. And that the said Citizens & their successors 
should have power to collect & levy all rents of inhabited places 
of the said fee about the said Castle. Rendering therefor to us 
beyond the old farm of the City to our exchequer by their own 
hands as much as before this time was wont to be paid for them. 
We, because as well by divers inquisitions upon the above matters 
taken by our command & returned to our Chancery as by examina- 
tion of our beloved and faithful John Howard our Sheriff of 
Norfolk whom we have for this cause summoned before us we 
are certainly informed that it is not to the damage or prejudice 
of us or others nor to the hurt of our said Castle unless in this 
that we shall lose the amercements & other profits issuing out 
of such pleas which are worth yearly by estimation according to 
the true value of the same 12 pence if we agree to their supplication, 
of our special grace & at the request of Isabella Queen of England 
our most dear mother & for the punishing of such delinquents 
have granted & by this our charter have confirmed for us & 
our heirs to the aforesaid Bailiffs & Citizens that they & their 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 2 5 

successors henceforth have jurisdiction in all the said places being 
of the said fee already inhabited or to be inhabited & that those 
places should be of such nature & condition as other places & 
tenements of the said Citizens in the said City, the house called 
the Shirehous where the common pleas of the said County are held 
alone excepted, & also that they have full cognisance of pleas as 
well concerning tenures of the said fee as concerning all other 
pleas whatsoever arising within the said fee by our writs & returns 
of writs & summonses of our exchequer & execution of the same 
& should be able to enquire concerning all trespasses felonies^ & 
harbouring of felons and fugitives whatsoever occurring henceforth 
within the said fee & to do justice thereon according to the law 
& custom of the said City. And also that the men already dwelling 
& in future to dwell in the said places shall henceforth be of the 
lot & scot* of the said citizens & contribute to tallages aids & 
all other things touching the said city with the men of the 
city according to their share & to this if it be necessary they 
may be compelled by the Bailiffs of the said city. So that" no 
Sheriff of the said County for the time being or Ministers of ours 
should in anything interfere^ concerning the said places or the 
residents in them or should hinder or disturb the said Bailiffs & 
Citizens of free ingress to the said places & egress from them. So 
that the said Bailiffs & Citizens in every grant to us of tenths & 
other contributions & aids already made or hereafter to be made 
to us & our heirs answer to us at our exchequer for the portion 
pertaining to us from the said places beyond what the said Bailiffs 
& Citizens render to us or have been wont to render for the 
portion touching the said city. And moreover that the said Bailiffs 
& Citizens their heirs & successors may have power to collect & 
levy by the said Bailiffs all rents of the said places inhabited & 
to be inhabited. Rendering therefor to us and our heirs at the 
exchequer of us and our heirs by their own hands beyond the old 
farm of the said city 26 shillings and 10 pence for the rent of 
the said places now inhabited 6 shillings and 8 pence for the leet 

1 The power to hear and determine felonies at the King's suit when need arose 
had been granted to local "wardens of the peace " the year before this Charter (Statute 
18 Ed. III., Ch. 2). It would seem that the powers thus granted were understood 
to be concurrently granted to or rightly assumed by the authorities of cities or towns with 
chartered local jurisdiction. On the limits of such jurisdiction, see Introduction XI. 6, 

note. . 

2 The rest of the City possessed this privilege ot non-interference under the 

Charter of 33 Edward I. 

26 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

& 9 shillings for pleas and perquisites of court there, to which 
sums the rents of the said places now inhabited & the profits of 
the leet and the pleas yearly extend as by the aforesaid inquisitions 
is more fully ascertained & beyond those sums lo shillings Sc lO 
pence of increment & also 12 pence which by reason of the present 
grant we have lost of amercements & profits of the said pleas as 
has been said & also the rents'' at which it may chance that the 
said inhabited places are rented, when according to our license 
they shall be inhabited. Moreover considering the costs & expenses 
which the said citizens have voluntarily laid out upon the enclosure 
of our said city Willing on that account to make them an accept- 
able recompense^ of our special favour & at the request of our 
said mother, we have granted & by this our charter have confirmed 
to the said Bailiffs & Citizens that they and their heirs & successors 
dwelling in the said City shall for ever be quit of the jurisdiction 
of the Clerk of the Market of the household of us & our heirs. 
So that the said clerk or his ministers shall in no wise enter the 
said city or the said fee henceforth to do & exercise the assay of 
measures or weights or for any other things in any way belonging 
to the office of clerk of the market, nor exercise that office in 
any way in the presence or absence of us or our heirs. Wherefore 
we will &c. 

Witnesses the Venerable Fathers John Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, Primate of All England, Richard Bishop of Chichester & 
Richard Bishop of London, Richard Earl of Arundel, Thomas de 
Beauchamp Earl of Warwick, William de Clynton Earl of Hunting- 
don, Robert de Ufford Earl of Suffolk, Robert de Sadyngton 
Chancellor [&] William de Edyngton our Treasurers, Richard 
Talbot Steward of our household & others. Given by our hand 
at Hertford on the 9th day of August in the 19th year of our 
reign in England & the 6th of our reign in France. 

By writ of Privy Seal.i 

" Edwardus Dei gracia Rex Anglie & Francie &c salutem. 

Supplicarunt nobis Balliui & Ciues Ciuitatis nostra Norwici quod cum 
eo quod homines in diuersis placeis circa fossata Castri nostri dicte Ciuitatis 
inhabitatis que sunt in feodo dicti Castri quod est in Geldabili manentes & 
residentes de iurisdictione Balliuorum Ciuitatis sunt exempti quam plures 
felones & malefactores de feloniis & transgressionibus in eadem Ciuitate 
indictati vel rectati ad dictum feodum fugiant & ibidem per dictos residentes 

1 Seal in fair condition. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 27 

sub iiirisdictione Vicecomitis nostri Norfolc' ac balliuorum suorum recep- 
tentur. Ita quod de eisdem felonibus & malefactoribus per Balliuos 
Ciuitatis predicte iusticia fieri non potest sicque huiusmodi felones & 
malefactores remanent impuniti & ex hoc sibi assumunt maiorem audaciam 
delinquendi in pads nostre lesionem & delinquencium perniciosum exem- 
plum velimus proinde dictis Ciuibus concedere iurisdictionem in placeis 
predictis. Ita quod placee ille sint de tali natura & condicione sicut sunt 
alie placee & tenementa Ciuium Ciuitatis predicte in eadem Ciuitate & 
quod dicti Balliui plenam cognicionem placitorum tarn de tenuris dicti 
feodi quam de aliis placitis quibuscunque infra feodum predictum per breuia 
nostra & returna breuium & summonicionum de scaccario nostro ac 
execucionem eorundem emergentibus habere & de transgressionibus feloniis 
& receptamentis felonum & fugitivorum quibuscunque infra dictum feodum 
contingentibus inquirere & inde iusticiam facere possint secundum legem 
& consuetudinem Ciuitatis predicte, quodque dicti residentes super placeis 
dicti feodi ad tallagia auxilia contribuciones & scotta cum hominibus 
predicte Ciuitatis soluere teneantur & quod dicti Ciues & successores sui 
omnes redditus de placeis dicti feodi circa Castrum predictum inhabitatis 
& inhabitandis coUigere & levare valeant. Reddendo inde nobis ultra 
antiquam firmam dicte Ciuitatis ad Scaccarium nostrum per manus suas 
proprias tantum quantum nobis ante hec tempora solui consueuit pro 
eisdem. Nos pro eo quod tam per diuersas inquisitiones super premissis 
de mandate nostro captas & in Cancellaria nostra retornatas quam per 
examinacionem dilecti & fidelis nostri Johannis Howard vicecomitis nostri 
Norfolc' quern coram nobis ex hac causa venire fecimus sumus certitudinaliter 
informati quod non est ad dampnum vel preiudicium nostrum aut aliorum 
nee ad nocumentum Castri nostri predict! nisi in hoc quod amerciamenta 
& alia proiicua de huiusmodi placitis prouenienta que valent per annum 
per estimacionem iuxta verum valorem eorundem duodecim denarios 
amittemus si supplicacioni predicte annuamus, de gracia nostra special! 
& ad requisitionem Isabelle Regine Anglie matris nostre carissime & pro 
huiusmodi delinquentibus puniendis concessimus &c. 

* Sint de lotto & scotto dictorum ciuium. 

" Absque hoc quod vicecomes Comitatus predicti qui pro tempore 
fuerit vel ministri sui se de dictis placeis vel de residentibus in eisdem in 
aliquo intromittant. 

'' Necnon redditus ad quos dictas placeas inhabitatas cum de licencia 
nostra inhabitate fuerint contigerit arentari. 

' Gratiam facere repensiuam. 

XV. First Charter of Richard II. [26 February, I377/8-] 

A Charter of Confirmation, inspecting & confirming the follow- 
ing Charters, Richard I., John, 39 Henry III., 2 February 19 

28 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Edward II. ("proavus noster"), ii Edward III., 19 Edward III., 
and adding the Clause against prejudice by non-user of privileges 
and also the following Clause : 

We will" further & grant for us & our heirs to the said Citizens 
of Norwich that any protection of us or our heirs made or to be 
made with the Clause "Volumus" to any persons coming on the 
duties or services of us or our heirs or in future making delay 
about them before the Bailiffs or other Judge^ of the said City 
for the time being within the said City for victuals there taken 
or bought upon the voyage or service of which such protections 
make fuller mention, or also in pleas concerning trespasses or any 
contracts after the date of these protections made held or committed 
shall henceforth not be allowed nor shall such protections in those 
cases henceforth have any place whatever in the said City of 

Witnesses the Venerable Fathers Simon Archbishop of Canter- 
bury Primate of All England, William Bishop of London, Adam 
Bishop of S'- David's Chancellor & Thomas Bishop of Exeter our 
Treasurers, Thomas Bishop of Carlisle, Ralph Bishop of Salisbury, 
John King of Castille^ & Leon Uuke of Lancaster our most dear 
Uncle, Richard of Arondell Hugh of Stafford & William de 
Montacute of Salisbury Earls,'' Guy de Bryen our Chamberlain, 
Richard le Scrop Steward of our household, Richard de Stafford, 
Henry le Scrop & others. Given by our hand at Westminster on 
the 26th day of February in the first year of our reign. 

Per breve de privato sigillo. Freton. 

At foot of 1st membrane is written. " Examinata per 
Johannem de Freton & Thomam de Stanley clericos."^ 

" Volumus insuper & concessimus pro nobis & heredibus nostris prefatis 
Ciuibus Norwici quod aliqua proteccio nostra vel heredum nostrorum 
cum clausula Volumus facta seu facienda aliquibus personis in obsequiis 
vel serviciis nostris seu heredum nostrorum profecturis aut in eisdem in 
posterum moram trahentibus coram Balliuis aut alio Judice eiusdem 
Ciuitatis pro tempore existentibus infra Ciuitatem illam pro victualibus 
ibidem super viageo seu servicio unde huiusmodi protecciones mentionem 

1 Perhaps a Coroner may be meant. There was also a Recorder of the City at 
this time. 

2 Rege Castelle & Legionis. 

' Ricardo Arondell Hugone Stafford & Willelmo de Monte Acuto Sarum Comitibus. 
* No Seal remains. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 29 

faciunt pleniorem captis sine emptis seu etiam in placitis de transgres- 
sionibus vel aliquibus contractibus post datam earundem proteccionum 
factis habitis seu eciam perpetratis de cetero non allocentur nee huius- 
modi protecciones in illis casibus in dicta Ciuitate Norwici decetero locum 
habeant quouis mode. 

XVI. Second Charter of Richard II. [15 February, 1379/80.] 

Richard by the grace of God &c greeting. We 

have inspected a Charter of our confirmation which we lately 
caused to be made to our Citizens of Norwich in these words : 
[Here follows the whole of the preceding Charter] 

Now we ratifying &c 

[After which are added two new clauses.] 

" We have granted further to the said Citizens of Norwich for 
us & our heirs & by this our Charter have confirmed that they 
& their successors citizens of the said city & no other stranger 
from their liberty may buy or sell victuals or any merchandise 
by retail or in parcels' within the liberties of the said City except 
according to the form and tenor of our statute^ issued in our 
parliament held at Gloucester on the Wednesday next after the 
feast of S'- Luke in the and year of our reign more fully expressed 
& contained under penalty of the forfeit contained in the said 
statute. Moreover we have granted for us and our heirs & by 
this our Charter have confirmed to our aforesaid Citizens of Norwich 
that if perchance any customs hitherto held & used in the said City 
shall in any part of them be difficult or defective so that, on account 
of any things anew arising in the said city where a remedy has 
not before been clearly ordained, they need amendment, the Bailiffs 
of the said City for the time being with the assent of twenty-four 
of their co-citizens^ to be elected for the Community of the said 
City every year or of the greater part of the said twenty-four so 
to be elected may have power & authority to apply & ordain 
a remedy agreeable to good faith & consonant to reason for the 
common utility of the Citizens of the said city & of others our 
faithful [people] repairing thereto & to effect due execution of 

1 Small portions. 

* The Statute 2 Richard II., Ch. I. enacted that merchants from over the sea 
might sell their goods in gross or by retail, but only to citizens or burgesses. 

' On the importance of this clause and the various questions which arose out ot 
it, see Introduction IV. 13. 

30 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

such their ordinances as often & when it shall be necessary & 
shall seem to them expedient, provided that these ordinances are 
useful to us & our people & [agreeable] to good faith & consonant 
to reason as is aforesaid. 

Witnesses, the Venerable Fathers Simon Archbishop of Canter- 
bury Primate of All England Chancellor [&] Thomas Bishop of 
Exeter our Treasurers, John King of Castille & Leon Duke of 
Lancaster, Edmund Earl of Cambridge, Thomas Earl of Bucking- 
ham %L Constable of England our most dear Uncles, William de 
Latymer, William de Beauchamp our Chamberlain, Hugh de Segrave 
Steward of our household and others. Given by our hand at 
Westminster on the 15th day of February in the 3rd year of our 

Per breue de private sigillo. Oterbury. 

Examiiiata per Thomam Stanley & Willelmum Roudon clericos.^ 

■^ Concessimus insuper eisdem ciuibus Norwici pro nobis & heredibus 
nostris & hac carta nostra confirmauimus quod ipsi & eorum successores 
Ciues Ciuitatis predicte & nuUus alius extraneus a libertate sua Norwici 
emat vel vendat victualia seu mercandisas aliquas ad retalliam vel per 
parcellas infra libertates Ciuitatis predicte nisi secundum formam & 
tenorem statuti nostri in parliamento nostro apud Gloucestr' die Mercurii 
proxima post festum Sci Luce anno regni nostri secundo tento editi plenius 
expressatos & contentos sub pena forisfacture in eodem statute contenta. 
Preterea concessimus pro nobis & heredibus nostris & hac carta nostra 
confirmauimus prefatis ciuibus nostris quod si fortassis alique consuetudines 
in dicta ciuitate hactenus obtente & usitate in aliqua sui parte difficiles siue 
defectiue fuerint sic quod propter aliqua in eadem ciuitate de nouo 
emergencia ubi remedium prius clare non extitit ordinatum emendacione 
indigeant, Balliui dicte Ciuitatis pro tempore existentes de assensu vlginti 
& quatuor conciuium suorum pro communitate dicte ciuitatis singulis 
annis eligendorum vel maioris partis eorundem viginti & quatuor sic 
eligendorum potestatem habeant & auctoritatem remedium congruum 
bone fidei & consonum rationi pro communi utilitate ciuium dicte Ciuitatis 
& aliorum fidelium nostrorum ad eandem confluentlum apponendi & 
ordinandi ac ordinaciones huiusmodi execucioni debite demandandi 
quotiens & quando opus fuerit & eis videbitur expedire. Dumtamen 
ordinaciones ille nobis & populo nostro utiles ac [congrue] bone fidei & 
consone fuerint racioni sicut predictum est. 

' Seal in good condition. 

^W.L;te^^#3'"^ ^ lV& JvX>^ C«v— 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 3 1 

XVII. First Charter of King Henry IV.' [6 February, 

A Charter of Confirmation inspecting and confirming the 
previous Charter of 3 Richard II. 

Witnesses — Thomas Arundel Archbishop of Canterbury, 
Richard Scroop Archbishop of York, Robert Braybrook Bishop 
of London, John Fordham Bishop of Ely, Edmund Stafford Bishop 
of Exeter, Edmund Duke of York our most dear Uncle, Henry de 
Percy Earl of Northumberland, Constable of England, Ralph de 
Nevile Earl of Westmoreland, Marshall of England, John Earl of 
Somerset, Chamberlain, John de Searle Clerk of the Chancery and 
John Norbury, Treasurers, William de Ross of Hamlak, Reginald 
Grey of Ruthin, William de Willughby, Thomas Kempston Steward 
of the Household and Master Richard Clifford, Keeper of the 
Privy Seal. 

Given at Westminster on the 6th day of February in the 
1st year of our reign. 

XVIII. Second Charter of King Henry IV.' (Abstract.) [28 
January, 1403/4.] 

Henry by the grace of God .... greeting. Know that 
. . . . we have granted .... to the Citizens and Com- 
monalty of our City of Norwich and their heirs and successors for 
ever Sz;c. 

[The Charter contains the following grants.] 

'"The City of Norwich shall henceforth be separated from 
the County of Norfolk and be a County by itself and be called 
the County of the City of Norwich. 

'' The Citizens and Commonalty may choose yearly from 
themselves a Mayor, who shall be the King's Escheator ; and 
in place of the 4 Bailiffs may choose yearly from themselves 2 
Sheriffs. The Mayor as Escheator shall take an oath before 
some appointed person in the City and the Sheriffs shall take 
their oaths before the Mayor in the hall called le Gildehalle without 
need of a writ of " Dedimus Potestatem " or other mandate. The 
Sheriffs may exercise all that belongs to the office of Sheriff as 
other Sheriffs of the Kingdom. The Escheator & Sheriffs shall 

1 This Charter is not preserved in the Muniment Room. 
a This Charter is not preserved. Introduction V. ^. 

32 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

have power and jurisdiction as other Escheators and Sheriffs. The 
Sheriffs shall hold their County Court on Monday monthly as 
other Sheriffs and their Court as the Bailiffs have done. 

" No citizen shall be impleaded outside the city concerning 
any tenures held or any trespass &c. made within the Liberty. 
Of all such pleas the Mayor and Sheriffs shall have cognisance 
without any external interference. 

''The C. & C. shall have cognisance of all pleas of Assize 
of Novel Disseisin & Mort d'Ancestor concerning lands &c. 
within the City &c., to be held before the Mayor & Sheriffs in 
the Guildhall. The Escheator & Sheriffs may make their annual 
proffers^ or accounts through an attorney appointed by their letters 
patent under the common seal of the City, without being compelled 
to appear personally. 

' The Mayor Sheriffs, Citizens & Commonalty may make 
their profit out of all gates bridges & wastes by land or water 
within the city &c. in aid of the repair of the gates & walls of the 
City. The Mayor shall have power at the suit of any one to 
correct in the Guildhall and fix the damage of any defaults 
oppressions &c. committed by the Sheriffs. 

^The C. & C. may through the Mayor & 4 " Probi Homines" 
to be chosen by him hear and determine all matters plaints &c. 
within the City belonging to the office of Justice of the Peace of 
Labourers & Artificers, as the like Justices do in the County 
of Norfolk. But they may not determine a felony^ without a 
special royal mandate. 

^ The C. & C. may by their officers levy and assess all fines, 
issues &c. pertaining to the Justiciary of the Peace within the 
Liberty towards repairs of bridges and other charges of the City. 
The M. S. C. & C. may have forfeit of victuals to be forfeited 
by law as bread wine & ale and other things not pertaining to 

'^ The Mayor may have a sword carried erect before him in 
the presence of all magnates and lords except the king. The 
sergeants at mace of the Mayor and the Sheriffs may carry gilt 
or silver maces with the king's arms even before the king within 
the Liberty. 

' The C. & C. shall be free from all interference by the 

1 A sum of money required half-yearly by the Exchequer in anticipation of the 
annual account. 

''■ Introduction XI, 6. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 33 

Steward and Marshall or the Clerk of the Market of the King's 
household within the Liberty &c. 

* No royal purveyor shall make any prise or take any victuals 
from the goods of any citizens against their will, whether in the 
king's presence or absence. If it is necessary to take them they 
shall be promptly paid for at a reasonable price. 

' The City Coroners may exercise their office as freely as 
they have done from before the time of memory. 

'" Neither the change of name of the Bailiffs nor any other 
cause shall hinder any of the privileges heretofore granted to the 
Citizens & Comrrionalty and now confirmed to the Mayor Sheriffs 
Citizens and Commonalty. But the M. S. C. & C. shall enjoy & 
use all the franchises which and as the Bailiffs Citizens and 
Commonalty had and exercised before the change of name. 

These being witnesses, the Venerable Fathers Thomas Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury Primate of All England, R. Archbishop of 
York Primate of England, R. Bishop of London, J. Bishop of Ely, 
H. Bishop of Lincoln our Chancellor, John Earl of Somerset our 
brother, Ralph Earl of Westmoreland Marshall of England, William 
Roos of Hamelak our Treasurer, William de Wilughby, William 
Heron lord de Say Steward of our household, Thomas Langeley 
keeper of our privy seal and others. Given by our hand at 
Westminster on the 28th day of January in the 5th year of our 

" Concessimus quod .... dicta Ciuitas ac tota terra infra 
dictam Ciuitatem & Libertatem eiusdem cum suburbiis & hamelettis suis 
ac procinctu eorundem & tota terra in circuitu eiusdem Ciuitatis infra 
Libertatem dicte Ciuitatis Norwici (Castro & le Shirehous exceptis que 
infra corpus Comitatus Norfolc iam existunt) ab eodem Comitatu separata 
sint ex nunc penitus & in omnibus exempta tam per terram quam per 
aquam & quod dicta Ciuitas ac suburbia .... (exceptis preexceptis) 
sint de cetero Comitatus per se & Comitatus Ciuitatis Norwici nuncupatus 
in perpetuum. 

* Volumus eciam .... quod predicti Ciues & Communitas 
. . . eligere possint singulis annis successiuls unum Maiorem de 

se ipsis & quod quilibet Maior .... quam citius in Maiorem 
electus fuerit & prefectus sit Escaetor noster & heredum nostrorum in 

Ciuitate, suburbiis &c. Et quod dicti C. & C loco quatuor 

Balliuorum ab antiquo usitatorum (quos & quorum nomina . . . 
omnino deleri volumus) .... eligere possint singulis annis succes 

siujs duos Vicecomites de se ipsis Qui quidem Maior & 


34 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Vicecomites in forma subscripta eligentur .... viz. dicti C. & C. 
quolibet anno de se ipsis eligent tres personas idoneas viz. unum in 

Maiorem & duos in Vicecomites Et quilibet Escaetor .... 

statim post prefeccionem suam prestet sacramentum suum de officio 
. . . . fideliter faciendo coram aliqua sufficienti persona infra Ciuitatem 
ad tioc per breuia nostra .... assignanda .... absque eo 
quod idem Escaetor .... ad sacramentum faciendum extra 
Ciuitatem .... venire compellatur. Ita semper quod statim de 
nomine Escaetoris .... ad scaccarium nostrum sub sigillo 
communi Ciuitatis certificetur. Et quod Vicecomites .... sacra- 
menta sua coram Maiore .... prestabunt .... quorum 
nomina sub sigillo communi Ciuitatis in Cancellariam nostram mittentur 
. . . . Et quod idem Maior .... plenam habeat potestatem 
recipiendi sacramenta .... Vicecomitum .... in aula sua 
vocata le Gildehalle .... absque breuibus nostris . . . . de 
Dedimus potestatem^ .... aut aliis mandatis nostris .... 

expectandis Quodque iidem Vicecomites .... omnia 

& singula debite faciant exerceant & exequantur .... que ad 
officium Vicecomitum pertinent & quod ceteri Vicecomites aliorum comita- 
tuum regni nostri Anglie secundum leges & consuetudines eiusdem faciant 

. . . absque eo quod aliquis Escaetor seu Vicecomes noster Norfolc' 

. . . Ciuitatem ingredi presumant aut infra Ciuitatem &c 

se intromittant Et quod iidem Escaetor & Vicecomites 

. . . . easdem habeant potestatem jurisdiccionem & libertatem .... 

in Ciuitate &c quas ceteri Escaetores & Vicecomites alibi 

infra regnum nostrum Anglie habent Et quod predicti Vice- 
comites Ciuitatis .... comitatum^ suum ibidem per diem lune 
de mense in mensem teneant eodem modo & prout alii Vicecomites nostri 

. . . Et quod .... curiam suam ibidem similiter teneant & 
proficua inde percipiant prout Balliui Ciuitatis antea facere .... 

' Concessimus eciam .... eisdem C. & C quod 

nullus eorum implacitet vel implacitetur .... extra Ciuitatem 
. . . . de terris aut tenementis que tenent infra Libertatem Ciuitatis, 
suburbia &c. Et quod iidem Maior et Vicecomites habeant cogniciones 
omnium placitorum de transgressionibus convencionibus contractibus & 
debitis quibuscumque infra Ciuitatem &c. emergentibus .... 
sine occasione vel impedimento nostri .... aut Justiciariorum 
nostrorum &c. 

" Et ulterius concessimus .... eisdem C. & C. quod ipsi 

. . . habeant cognicionem omnimodorum placitorum assissarum noue 

1 A Royal Writ granting authority to act in the King's name. 

^ On these Courts see Preface to City Courts (Introduction XI. 4). 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 35 

disseisine & mortis antecessorum de terris &c infra Ciuitatem 

&c coram Maiore & Vicecomitibus .... in le Gild- 

halle Ciuitatis Et quod Escaetor & Vicecomites .... 

quolibet anno profra sua ad Scaccarium nostrum .... facere & 
computare possint per attornatum suum .... per literas patentes 
sub sigillo communi Ciuitatis signatas .... absque hoc quod 
Escaetor & Vicecomites .... personaliter venire compellantur. 

' Concessimus eciam .... Maiori Vicecomitibus Ciuibus & 
Communitati .... quod ipsi . . . . se appruare & com- 
modum suum facere possint de omnibus portis pontibus & vastis tam in 

terra quam in aqua infra Ciuitatem &c in auxilium reparacionis 

& emendacionis portarum & murorum Ciuitatis . . . . Et quod Maior 
. . . . habeat plenam potestatam .... audiendi corrigendi &c. 
. . . . coram se ipso in le Gildhalle ad sectam cuiuslibet omnes 
defectus oppressiones &c. que per Vicecomites .... in officiis suis 
infra Libertatem &c. fieri contigerit & inde parti se sentienti grauatam 
dampna iuxta quantitatem delicti considerandi & adiudicandi. 

^ Et insuper concessimus .... quod C. & C. habeant plenam 
correccionem .... & potestatem ad inquirendum audiendum & 
terminandum per Maiorem & alios quatuor probiores & legaliores homines 
predicte Ciuitatis per Maiorem eligendos .... omnes materias 
querelas &c. qui ad officium Justiciariorum pacis laboratorum & artificum 

pertinent .... sicut Justiciarii pacis &c in Comitatu 

Norfolc' ante hec tempora habuerunt . . . . Ita tamen quod predicti 
Maior & quatuor homines .... ad determinacionem alicuius felonie 
absque special! mandato nostro .... non procedant. 

" Concedimus eciam .... eisdem C. & C quod 

ipsi habeant [potestatem] omnes fines exitus forisfacturas & amerciamenta 
ad Justiciariam Pacis infra Libertatem &c. pertinencia .... per 
ministros suos levandi & recipiendi in supportacionem reparacionis pontium 
ac aliorum onerum Ciuitatis . . . . Et quod M. V. C. & C. habeant 
forisfacturam victualium per legem forisfiendorum viz. panis vini & 
seruisie ac aliarum rerum que ad mercandisas non pertinent. 

'' Et insuper concessimus prefatis C. & C. quod Maior & successores 
sui . . . . gladium suum per nos datum aut alium gladium .... 
extra presenciam nostram & heredum nostrorum habeant portatum & portari 
facere possint coram eis punctu erecto in presencia tam aliorum magnatum 
& dominorum regni nostri Anglie qui nos linea consanguinitatis attingunt 
& quorumcumque aliorum quam alio modo quocumque. Et quod 
seruientes clauarum Maioris & Vicecomitum .... clauas suas 
auratas vel argenteas aut argentatas & signo Armorum nostrorum & 
heredum nostrorum ornatas tam in presencia nostra & heredum nostrorum 
quam in presencia consortis nostre & heredum nostrorum infra Ciuitatem 
&c. prout proprii seruientes nostri ad arma pro libito deferre valeant. 

36 Selected Records 0/ the City of Norwich. 

'" Volumus eciam & concedimus .... quod per translacionem 
alternacionem & mutacionem nominum Balliuorum predicte Ciuitatis nee 

per aliquam aliam causam .... alique de franchesiis &c 

prefatis Ciuibus & Communitati .... per progenitores nostros ante 
hec tempora concessis & per nos confirmati.s erga nunc Maiorem Vicecomites 
Ciues et Communitatem aut tenentes & residentes infra Ciuitatem suburbia 

&c nuUo modo denegentur restringantur minuantur nee 

abbreuientur. Set quod iidem Maior Vicecomites Ciues & Communitas 
omnia & singula franehesias &c. plane gaudeant & utantur de articulo in 
artieulum ac de verbo in verbum que & prout Balliui Ciues & Com- 
munitas Ciuitatis predicte ac antecessores & predecessores sui habuerunt 
& exercuerunt ex concessione dictorum progenitorum & nostra confirma- 
cione ante mutacionem nominum Balliuorum predictorum per nos nunc 
factam & concessam imperpetuum. 

XIX. Charter of King Henry V. (Abstract.) [21 July, 1417.] 

Henry by the grace of God King &c Inspection 

& Confirmation of the two previous Charters i and J Henry IV. 
after which are added various directions as to the government 
of the City. Many strifes and dissensions having arisen as to 
the mode of election of the Mayor, Sheriffs and other officers, 
the King desirous of bringing such strifes to an end orders as 

'^ The Citizens & Commonalty may elect twenty-four fellow- 
citizens as Aldermen who shall bear the name of Aldermen of 
the City of Norwich for ever ; and also si.Kty other citizens for 
a Common Council of the City. 

The elections of the Mayor, Sheriffs and sixty Common 
Councillors shall be conducted [as agreed to in the Composition, 
No. XLI. I, 2, 4.)] 

The twenty-four Aldermen [as agreed to in the Composition 
(No. XLI. 3) with respect to the twenty-four Con-citizens] shall 
be confirmed in their office each year, unless reasonable cause 
for removal has occurred. 

* The Clause about providing due remedy in emergencies 
includes the " assent of the sixty citizens of the Common Council." 

Witnesses, The Venerable Fathers H. Archbishop of Canter- 
bury Primate of All England, our dear Uncle H. Bishop of 
Winchester our Chancellor, and Thomas Bishop of Durham ; 
Thomas Duke of Clarence, John Duke of Bedford, Humphrey 
Duke of Gloucester, our rnost dear brothers ; Thomas Duke of 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 37 

Exeter our most dear Uncle ; Edmund Earl of March, John 
Earl of Huntingdon, Richard Earl of Warwick and Thomas Earl 
of Salisbury our kinsmen ; Henry FitzHugh our Treasurer, Walter 
Hungerford Steward of our household, Master Henry Ware, Keeper 
of our Privy Seal and others. Given by our hand at Porchester 
on the 2ist day of July in the 5th year of our reign.^ 

" De gracia nostra speciali & ad specialem supplicacionem & 
requisicionem predictorum Ciuium & Communitatis ac ex eorum consensu 
voluntario pariter & assensu Volumus & concedimus pro nobis .... 
prefatis Ciuibus & Communitati quod ipsi & successores sui in perpetuum 
viginti & quatuor Conciues suos Ciuitatis predicte in Aldermannos necnon 
sexaginta alios Clues euisdem Ciuitatis pro Communi Consilio Ciuitatis 
illius modo & forma inferlus contentis eligere facere & creare possint 
qui quidem viginti & quatuor Conciues sic electi nomen Aldermanncrum 
Ciuitatis Norwici habeant & gerant in perpetuum. Et quod predicti 
Maior & Vicecomites in forma subscripta annuatim eligantur & preficiantur 
Videlicet omnes Clues Ciuitatis illius in eadem commorantes .... 

* Preterea concessimus .... quod si fortassis alique consuetu- 
dines .... emendacione indigeant quod tunc Maior Ciuitatis 
predicte pro tempore existens ac Aldermanni sive major pars eorum pro 
tempore existens plenam potestatem .... habeant ad nouum 
remedium congruum ' fidei . . . . de assensu predictorum sexaginta 
Conciuium pro Communi Consilio Ciuitatis predicte in forma precedent! 
annuatim eligendorum sive majoris partis eorundem apponendum & 
ordinandum &c. 

XX. First Charter of King Henry VI.' [17 July, 1430.] 

Inspection and Confirmation of the previous Charter of S 
Henry V. 

Witness, The Guardian [of the Kingdom] at Westminster, 17th 
day of July, 8 Henry VI. 

XXI. Second Charter of King Henry VI.'^ (Abstract.) [17 

March, 1451/2.] 

Henry by the grace of God King &c greeting. 

After declaring the seizure of the liberties of the City and their 
restitution by the judgment of the King's court, the King confirms 

1 Seal of green wax in good condition. 

2 Not in the Muniment Room. It is enrolled on Patent Roll 8 Henry VI. pt. I. 

3 Introduction VII. 4. 

38 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

to the "Citizens their heirs and successors" the full enjoyment 
of all franchises &c. as before with the special clause about non-user. 
The Charter then proceeds : 

And we have granted that the said citizens" their heirs and 
successors shall have power in future to declare before us and our 
heirs Justices and other Judges whatsoever their liberties and free 
customs by word of mouth by the Recorder of the said City in 
the way which is at present used by word of mouth by the 
Recorder of our City of London. 

And further considering how the said Citizens of our City 
of Norwich by Charter of the lord Henry late King of England 
our grandfather which we have confirmed have for themselves 
their heirs and successors full correction, punishment, authority 
and power to enquire hear and determine by the Mayor of the 
said City and other four tried and lawful men of the City to 
be chosen .... by the Mayor all evil doings plaints defaults 
and articles which belong to the office of Justices of the Peace 
of Labourers and Artificers and other things within the said City 
suburbs &c. occurring .... And now divers doubts* and 
opinions have arisen upon obscurity and the interpretation of 
terms therein contained, whereof the said Citizens have humbly 
supplicated us that our will in that behalf should be graciously 
declared by us to them. We therefore favourably inclining to 
their prayers .... grant and declare to the said now 
Citizens their heirs and successors that henceforth the Mayor and 
Recorder of the said City and their successors Mayors & Recorders 
of the City for ever and as well those Aldermen who have already 
been Mayors of the City as other Aldermen who shall hereafter 
bear the burden of the Mayoralty of the City, after they have 
ceased from the Mayoralty and been dismissed therefrom, so long as 
they remain Aldermen there shall be Keepers of the Peace of us and 
our heirs through the whole City of Norwich, its suburbs hamlets 
land precinct and circuit and be Justices for keeping all statutes 
& provisions for the keeping of the peace and concerning hunters 
workmen, artificers servitors hostillers &c. 

We will" also and grant that the said Justices or four of 
them, of whom we will such Mayor and Recorder for the time 
being to be two, should also be Justices of us and our heirs to 
enquire by the oath of tried and lawful men as well of the City 
as of the Liberty suburbs .... by whom the truth of the 
matter may be better known from time to time as often as and 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 39 

when it shall seem most expedient to them concerning all manner 

of felonies, trespasses &c [set forth at length as in 

a Commission of the Peace]. 

We have also granted to the said Citizens .... that 
they may choose sub-sheriffs, clerks and bailiffs of the sheriffs, 
for whom they will answer, .... as freely as is used in 

Wherefore we will and firmly enjoin &c. 

Witnesses, The Venerable Fathers J. Cardinal Archbishop of 
York Primate of England our Chancellor, Thomas Bishop of 
London and William Bishop of Winchester, our most dear kinsmen 
J. Duke of Norfolk our Marshall of England and Edmund Duke 
of Somerset Constable of England, Richard Earl Warren and J. 
Earl of Oxford and our beloved and faithful John Viscount 
Beaumont our Chamberlain of England, Ralph Crumwell our 
Chamberlain of our household and John Beauchamp our 
Treasurer of England knight and also our beloved Master Andrew 
Hales Keeper of our Privy Seal and others. Given by the hand 
of the King at Westminster on the 17th day of March in the 
30th year of our reign. 

By the King himself and of the abovesaid date and for 20 
marks paid in the hanaper.' 

" Et quod predict! Ciues heredes & successores sui libertates & 
liberas consuetudines suas in posterum coram nobis & heredibus 
Justiciariis ac aliis Judicibus nostris quibuscumque ore tenus per 
Recordatorem Ciuitatis illius declarare valeant modo quo per Recordatorem 
ore tenus Ciuitatis nostra London' ad presens est usitatum. 

* Ac iam diuersa dubia & opiniones euenerunt super obscuritatem 
& interpretacionem terminorum inde in eadem contentorum unde iidem 
Ciues humillime supplicauerunt sibi per nos voluntatem nostram in hac 
parte graciosius declarari Nos igitur eorum precibus inde favorabiliter 
inclinati de gracia nostra speciali ex certa scientia & motu nostro volumus 
pro nobis & heredibus nostris in perpetuum quantum in nobis est con- 
cedimus & declaramus eisdem nunc Ciuibus heredibus & successoribus 
suis quod amodo Maior & Recordator Ciuitatis predicte & successores 
sui Maiores & Recordatores eiusdem Ciuitatis in perpetuum Ac tam 
illj Aldermanni qui Maiores dicta Ciuitatis preantaa extiterunt quam 
alii Aldermanni qui onus Maioratus Ciuitatis illius in posterum sustinebunt 
postquam a Maioratu illo cessauerunt & inde sint dimissi quamdiu 

1 Seal of green wax in good condition. 

46 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Aldermanni ibidem steterint sint custodes pacis nostre & heredum nostrorum 
per totam Ciuitatem Norwici suburbia hameletta terram precinctum & 
circuitum eiusdem Ciuitatis ac Justiciarii ad omnia- statuta & prouisiones 
pro conseruacione pacis & de venatoribus operariis artificibus seruitori- 
bu5 hostillariis &c. . . . & de quibuscumque aliis articulis per 

Justiciaries pacis custodiende .... editis .... custodiendum 
& custodiri faciendum .... 

" Volumus etiam & concedimus quod iidem Justiciarii vel quatuor 
eorum quorum liuiusmodi Maiorem & Recordatorem pro tempore existentes 
duos esse volumus sint eciam Justicarii nostri & heredum nostrorum ad 
inquirendum per sacramentum proborum & legalium hominum tarn de 
Ciuitate quam de libertate suburbiis .... per quos rei Veritas melius 
sciri poterit de tempore in tempus quociens & quando eis melius videbitur 
expedire de omnimodis feloniis transgressionibus .... 

XXII. First Charter of King Edward IV. [lo February, 

I461 2.J 

Confirmation to the Mayor Citizens & Commonalty by Inspexi- 
mus of the following Charters: (a) Charter of Henry II.; {b) 
Charter of 3 Richard II., with all included Charters; {c) Charter 
of S Henry IV. ;i {d) Charter of 30 Henry VI. 

In witness of which thing we have caused these our letters to 
be made patent. Witness myself at Westminster on the loth 
day of February in the 1st year of our reign. For 10 marks paid 
into the hanaper.''' 

XXIII. Second Charter of King Edward IV. [12 February, 

Edward" .... greeting. Know ye that we on account 
of the great affection which we bear and have towards our City 
of Norwich and the Citizens and Commonalty of the said City 
and in consideration of the good conduct and great costs and 
expenses of the Citizens of the said City and moreover of the 
free services many times borne by them for us against our adversaries 
and rebels Willing specially to provide for the betterment of the 

1 Henry IV. is described as "nuper de facto et de jure Regis Anglie " ; Henry 
VI. as "nuper de facto et non de jure Regis Anglie." 

2 Seal of green wax nearly perfect. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 4 1 

said City and for the advantage and quiet of the said Citizens 
and their heirs and successors, of our special grace .... have 
granted .... that the said City and all the land within 
the ditches .... which in the time of King Richard the 2nd 
our kinsman were parcel of the County of Norfolk and were, were 
contained and comprehended within the body of the County shall 
be separated ... [as in the Charter of 5 Henry IV.] 

We will also and grant .... that they have twenty-four 
of their concitizens as Aldermen .... and sixty other citizens 
of the said City for a Common Council of the said City .... 
[Here follow the enactments of 5 Henry V. (who is not mentioned) 
as to the constitution of the municipal body and the mode of 
elections, extending the franchise to the citizens in the hamlets. '^] 

Witnesses, The Venerable Fathers Thomas Archbishop of 
Canterbury Primate of All England, William Archbishop of York 
Primate of England, George Bishop of Exeter our Chancellor, 
William Bishop of Ely, And our most dear brothers George Duke 
of Clarence, Richard Duke of Gloucester, Also our dear kinsmen 
Richard Earl of Warwick Steward of England & Henry Earl of 
Essex our Treasurer, And our beloved subjects John Mountague 
Knight & William Hastynges our Chamberlain Knight, Also our 
beloved Clerk Robert Stillington Keeper of our Privy Seal & 
others. Given by our hand at Westminster on the 12th day of 
February in the 1st year of our reign. 

By the King himself of the date aforesaid by authority of 
parliament & for \os. paid in the Hanaper.'' 

" Edwardus .... salutem. Sciatis quod nos ob magnam 
affeccionem quara erga ciuitatem nostram Norwici ac ciues & communi- 
tatem eiusdem ciuitatis gerimus & habemus ac consideracione boni gestus 
& grandium sumptuum & expensarum ciuium eiusdem Ciuitatis necnon 
gratuitorum serviciorum nobis per ipsos contra aduersarios & rebelles 
nostros multipliciter impensorum Volentes melioracioni eiusdem Ciuitatis 
necnon eorundem Ciuium ac ipsorum heredum & successorum commodo 
& quieti specialiter prouidere de gracia nostra special! concessimus .... 
quod dicta Ciuitas & tota terra infra fossata .... que tempore 
Regis Ricardi secundi consanguinei nostri parcella Comitatatus Norfolc' 
& infra corpus .... extititerunt continebantur & comprehense 
fuerunt . . . . ab eodem Comitatu separata sint &c. 

1 See Introduction VII. 6. 

^ Not in the Muniment Room. Recited in Charter of ig Henry VII. 

42 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

XXIV. Third Charter of King Edward IV. (Translation.) [ii 
November, 1482. J 

Edward by the grace of God King .... greeting. 
Know ye that ... we have granted . . . to our 

beloved lieges the Mayor Sheriffs Citizens & Commonalty of our 
City of Norwich that they their heirs and successors for ever have 
and hold two free fairs or markets to be commonly called Free 
Maries^ in and within our said City of Norwich and the County 
of the same, that is to say, one for ten days next before the 3rd 
Sunday in Lent, on the said Sunday, and for ten days next following 
after the said Sunday. And the other on the feast of the Commemo- 
ration of St. Paul the Apostle^ and to last continuously for twenty 
days from the said feast next following." And that all and singular 
the merchants and others whosoever, our subjects of our kingdom 
of England, and also all and singular the foreign merchants and 
others whosoever, being for the time our friends and allies,* and 
every of them desiring or wishing to come there to the said fairs 
and markets or to any of them with their goods and merchandise 
whatsoever or for the sake of merchandising, shall have power 
to come to the said fairs and abide there and in the said fairs 
to sell and buy goods and merchandise or to sell and buy and 
return home therefrom^ as well by land as by water and everywhere 
freely peacefully quietly and with impunity as shall be just, as often 
as shall seem good to them or him'' without impediment or any 
burden whatever. And we take and accept by these presents 
into our special protection keeping and defence" the said merchants 
our subjects and others whomsoever, merchants and others aforesaid, 
and every of them in coming to the said fairs to be commonly 
called Free Martes and to every of them in manner form and 
for causes aforesaid or otherwise as aforesaid and in there abiding 
waiting buying selling and returning home therefrom. To have 
and to hold to the said Mayor .... the said fairs or markets 
and liberties .... with all customs and rights .... 
which ought to belong to them .... And all these premisses 
. . . we have granted to the said Mayor .... without 

fine or fee-^ .... 

In witness whereof we have caused these our letters to be 
made patent. Witness myself at Westminster on the iith day 
of November in the 22nd year of our reign.' 

^ ^ June 30. ' Seal of green wax, in fair condition. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 43 

" Habeant & teneant annuatim duas liberas ferias sive nundinas 
vulgariter nuncupandas Free Martes in & infra Ciuitatem nostram 
predictam & Comitatum eiusdem, unam videlicet per decern dies proximos 
ante terciam dominicam quadragesime, eadem die dominica, & per decern 
dies proxime post eandem diem dominicam sequentes, & alteram festo 
Commemoracionis Sancti Pauli Apostoli & per viginti dies ab eodem festo 
proxime sequentes continue duraturam. 

* Mercatores extranei & alii quicumque amici & confederati nostri 
pro tempore existentes. 

' Seu vendere vel emere & exinde ad propria redire. 

'' Valeant & valeat tociens quociens sibi placuerint vel placuerit. 

' In proteccionem tuicionem & defensionem nostras speciales suscipimus 
& acceptamus per presentes. 

Absque tine & feodo aut aliquo alio nobis inde aut proinde reddendo 
seu soluendo ac eo libere & integre sicut aliqua libera feria siue nundina 
vulgariter nuncupata Free Martes dari seu per nos concedi potest Aliquibus 
statutis actu ordinacione concessione seu prouisione in contrarium seu in 
derogacionem premissorum factis editis ordinatis seu prouisis non 

XXV. Charter of King Henry VII. [26 March 1504.] 

Charter of Confirmation, inspecting and confirming 

(a) Letters Patent of lO February, i Edward IV., with all 
included Charters. 

{b) Charter of 12 February, i Edward IV. 

(c) Letters Patent of 22 Edward IV. 

Witness the King at Westminster on the 26th day of March 
in the 19th year of our reign. 

For 40 shillings paid in the hanaper.' 

XXVI. First Charter of King Henry VIII. [24 October, 1524.] 

Charter sanctioning the Composition made on 24th August, 
1524, through the mediation of Cardinal Wolsey between the Citizens 
& the Prior & Convent of Norwich by which the Citizens released 
their rights in the common pasture of Eton and Lakenham, and 
received from the Prior and Convent 80 acres of land." 

1 Seal damaged. 

2 This land became known as the Town Close. The subject of this and the two 
following Charters will be dealt with in Vol. II., see Introduction VIII. I. 

44 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Witness myself at Westminster on the 24th day of October 
in the i6th year of our reign. By the King himself and of the 
aforesaid date by authority of parliament/ 

XXVII. Second Charter of King Hpnry VIII. [i June, 1525.] 

Charter sanctioning the above Composition by which the 
Citizens released to the Prior and Convent all jurisdiction within 
the walls of the Priory, and the Prior & Convent released to the 
Citizens all jurisdiction without the walls. 

Clauses are added prescribing the procedure in case of the 
death of a Mayor or Sheriff during his year of office ; and also 
granting that the Recorder and Steward and all ex-Mayors so 
long as they continue Aldermen shall be Justices of the Peace, 
and no justices of the county shall enter the said city.'' 

Witness myself at Westminster on the 1st day of June in 
the 17th year of our reign. By the King himself & of the date 
aforesaid by authority of parliament.^ 

" Ita quod custodes pacis nostra heredum vel successorum nostrorum 
aut Justiciarii nostri .... ad huiusmodi felonias .... in 
Comitatu Norfolc' audiend' & terminaiid' assignati vel assignandi seu alii 
Justiciarii nostri .... dictum nunc Comitatum Ciuitatis predicte 
ad aliquod quod ad custodes pacis nostra .... aut alios Justiciaries 
nostros pertinet ibidem faciend' non ingrediantur nee de- inde ibidem in 
aliquo intromittant nee eorum aliquis intromittat. 

XXVIII. Third Charter of King Henry VIII. [6 April, 1539.] 

Charter by which after the conversion of the Prior and Convent 
into a Dean and Chapter it was arranged that the Cathedral Precinct 
should be separated from the County of Norfolk & the Hundred 
of Blofield and made parcel of the City, reserving the old jurisdiction 
within the site to the Dean and Chapter ; in accordance with an 
indenture between the parties made on 10 April previous. 

Witness myself at Westminster on the 6th day of April in 
the 30th year of our reign. By the King, &c.^ 

XXIX. Charter of King Edward Vlth. [3 November, 1549.] 

Charter of Confirmation, reciting by Inspeximus (i) the 
Charter of 26 March, 19 Henry VII., with all included Charters; 

' Seal damaged. ^ Seal damaged. ' Seal damaged. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 45 

(2) Charter of i June, 17 Henry VIII.; (3) Letters Patent of 
6 April, 30 Henry VIII. 

An authorisation follows to elect two Sheriffs^ within one 
month. Then the clause as to dis-user. And a remission of 

Witness myself at Westminster on the 14th day of November 
in the 3rd year of our reign. 

For 15 pounds paid into the hanaper.^ 

XXX. Charter of Philip and Mary. [2 July, 1556.] 

\A Charter defining the BoUnds of the County of the City.] 

Philip & Mary by the grace of God King & Queen of England 
France Naples Jerusalem & Ireland Defenders of the Faith Princes 
of the Spains & Sicily Archdukes of Austria Dukes of Milan 
Burgundy & Brabant Counts of Haspurg Flanders & Tyrol to 
all to whom the present letters shall come greeting. Whereas 
our City of Norwich is an ancient City of itself separated & 
divided from our County of Norfolk and incorporated by the 
name of the Mayor Sheriffs Citizens & Commonalty of Norwich 
And by the same name the Citizens and Inhabitants' of the said 
City from time of which the memory of man exists not have 
had & enjoyed .... by gift of our progenitors .... 
many jurisdictions, franchises liberties & privileges within the said 
City and its suburb. And because in the incorporation of the said 
City the limits metes & bounds to which the jurisdiction of the 
said City should extend are not otherwise particularly specified 
than that they should extend within the City & the suburbs of 
the said City, [not only contentions^ have arisen but many evil 
doers have gone unpunished .... because the Mayor & 
other officers of the City cannot enter to execute their office, and 
the Officers & Justices of the County of Norfolk are too far off 
to come in convenient time to punish such delinquents] ; We 
wilhng to make reformation thereof .... give & grant 

' This was after Kett's rebellion. ^ Seal damaged. 

8 This must be an incorrect reference to the expression "cives inhabitantes, " resident 
citizens. No Charter was granted to "inhabitants" as distinguished from "citizens." 
Non-citizen inhabitants enjoyed certain "liberties & privileges" as compared with 
outsiders but did not share with the citizens in "jurisdiction & franchises," 

* See Introduction VI. i, 2, 3. 

46 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

. . . . to the now Mayor .... & their successors that 
as well the whole land within the outer walls of the said City 
and all buildings built or constructed within the said walls as 
all the land soil ground waters rivers vills hamlets suburbs buildings 
built & existing within the limits metes & bounds following, to wit 
from the water of Wensonne in times past granted to the prede- 
cessors of the said M. S. C. & C. by the progenitors of us the 
said Queen and from thence by the outer part of the stream 
called Trowys Eye to the bridge of Trowys & from the said 
bridge of Trowys by the outer part of the bank of the stream 
there to the bridge of Lakenham called Lakenham Brydge And 
from the said bridge of Lakenham by the outer part of the river 
there to the bridge of Harforde commonly called Harforde Bridge 
And from the said bridge called Harford Bridge by the outer part 
of the stream there to the bridge of Cringleford commonly called 
Cringleford Bridge And from thence by the outer part of the 
stream there to the bridge of Ereleham & from the same bridge 
of Ereleham by the outer & western parts of the villi of Erleham 
direct to the King's river called the King's river of Heilesdon 
& from the said river to the bridge of Heilesdon commonly called 
Heilesdon Bridge And from the said bridge to the water late 
of the water Mill of Heilesdon called thold Mille Damme And 
from the said water by the common way leading through the 
midst of the vill of Heilesdon direct by the common lane leading 
on the eastern part of a Close called Heylesdonne Woode And 
from the northern end of the said lane by a certain green way 
leading directly to a certain parcell of land upon which a 
certain Cross called le Whyte Crosse was formerly constructed 
standing in the King's way leading from our said City of Norwich 
to Horsham S' Faith'' And from the said parcel of land directly 
to the northern part of a close called little Mushold And by 
the northern part of the said close now or late in the tenure 
of John Crychemaye senior And from thence directly to 
the northern part of a certain close called Wrenne Parke con- 
taining two acres now or late in the tenure of Nicholas 
Norgate And from thence to the junction of two ways 
northwards & eastwards of the aforesaid close called Wrenne 
Parke Of which ways one leads to our aforesaid City of 

1 "Vill" is used to describe the whole circuit of lands in a parish or township, 
not the village only. 

2 A village 4J miles north of Norwich, 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 47 

Norwich And the otlier way of the said ways leads to the 
Chapel of the blessed Mary Magdalene And from the said 
junction or point of the said ways directly to the close late of 
Nicholas Sywhat Alderman of Norwich now of John Corbett 
Esquire lately called le Safferne Close leaving the said close on 
the northern part And so from the said close upon a green way 
directly leading to the copsei called Sayncte Williams Wood & 
including the said copse And thence by a certain green way 
lying on the northern part of the copse called Thorpe Wood 
And so to the high way leading from our said City of Norwich 
to the vill of Thorpe And by the same way westwards to the 
northern end of a common way leading from the said high way to 
the water of Wensonne near the Manor of Newton called Newton 
Hall And by the said water eastwards by the whole breadth 
of the water to a certain cross called Hardeley Crosse^ And so 
returning by the whole breadth of the said water of the Wensonne 
to the outer part of the river called Trowys Eye above expressed 
and specified should henceforth for ever be separated & divided 
from our said County of Norfolk. And all & every the land 
soil .... being within the limits .... aforesaid hence- 
forth for ever for us and the heirs .... of the said Queen 
we unite annex & incorporate by [these] presents to our said 
City of Norwich and the County of the said City .... [The 
Castle & the Shirehouse excepted]. 

Full jurisdiction is granted within these bounds and the right 
of annual perambulation ; saving their rights to other holders of 
liberties within the bounds. 

Witness ourselves at Grenewiche on the first day of April 
in the 2nd year of our reigns. 

P. Care. 

By writ of privy seal & of date aforesaid by authority of 

XXXI. First Charter of Charles II. (Abstract.) [26 June, 1663.] 

Charles &c Whereas our City of Norwich &c. 

[as in Charter of Philip & Mary] . . . We will ordain & 

1 Boscum. S' William of Norwich was supposed to have been crucified by the 
Jews in 1 144. A chapel was built on the spot where his body was found Blomefield 
(Hist, iii., 26) ; Life of S' William, by Jessopp and James, Camb., 1896. 

2 About IS miles below Norwich. The whole river was formerly called the Wensum 
as far as Breydon Water near Yarmouth, which was the old limit of the jurisdiction. See 
Custumal (No. XLIX) Ch. 9 and No. LXXXVIII. » Seal damaged. 

48 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

grant & confirm to the said Mayor &c. . . . & their 

successors the aforesaid Incorporation & Body Corporate [Incor- 
poracionem & Corpus Corporatum predictum] & all & every kind 
of Hberties .... 

For the better use .... of such Hberties we constitute 
John Croshold^ Mayor of the said City, Joseph Paine Knight, 
Henry Watts, John Rayley, Barnard Church, John Man, John 
Salter, Christopher Jay, John Osborne, Richard Wenman, Esquires, 
William Tooke, William Heyward, Augustine Briggs, Thomas 
Wisse, Robert Bendish, Richard Coldham, John Laurence, Francis 
Morris, Henry Heme, James Long, Matthew Markham, Henry 
Wood, Henry Watts junior & John Manser Aldermen, Francis Cory 
Esquire Recorder, William Watts Esquire Steward and Thomas 
Balteston Common Clerk to continue in their offices ; the Mayor, 
Recorder, Steward and such Aldermen as have been Mayor to 
be Justices of the Peace. An Alderman who has not been Mayor 
shall be Justice in & for the whole Ward^ of the City for which 
respectively he has been or shall be elected Alderman [In & per 
totam wardam civitatis pro qua respective electus & nominatus 
est vel fuerit Aldermannus]. 

All officials are to take their accustomed oaths. If any 
person who at any time in future shall be elected in any ward of 
the City to be of the Common Council or of the Livery" of the 
City [de Comuni Consilio vel de Panno Anglice Livery Civitatis] 
refuse to take his oath within ten days, or if the person aforesaid 
at the Assembly of the Mayor Sheriffs Aldermen & Common Council 
[Communis Consilii] of the City cannot show good cause to the 
contrary to be allowed by the Mayor Sheriffs Aldermen & Common 
Council or the majority of them he shall forfeit to the use of 
the Mayor Sheriffs Citizens & Commonalty of the City for the 
repair of the walls such fine as shall be determined by the Mayor 
Sheriffs Aldermen and Common Council .... not exceeding 

One of the Sheriffs is to be elected by the Mayor, Sheriffs 

' This is the first time any officials are named in a Norwich Charter. 

^ This must be the great not the small ward, as appears clear from the clause 
below on the election of a new Alderman and from Charles' 2nd Charter which specifies 
the Aldermen as appointed for the four great wards. The question was never settled, 
see Introduction VII. 8 end. 

" This can only be another name for the Common Council. The Freemen as 
members of one or other of the Gilds wore a livery, but they were not elected in the 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 49 

& Aldermen between 24 June & i September ; the other by all 
citizens resident in the city & county of the city on the last 
Tuesday in August. Both to be sworn to their office on 29 

A new Alderman is to be elected by the resident citizens of 
the great ward where the vacancy occurs. Anyone refusing to 
serve when elected or neglecting his duties & not returning to 
resume them shall be fined by the Mayor Sheriffs Aldermen & 
Common Council at a public assembly a sum not exceeding ^200. 

The power of making ordinances &c. is granted to the Mayor 
Sheriffs Citizens & Commonalty, so that the Mayor Sheriffs & 
Aldermen for the time being or the major part of them with the 
assent of the sixty Concitizens duly chosen yearly for the Common 
Council of the City or the major part of them at an Assembly of the 
Mayor Sheriffs Aldermen & Concitizens held for the City may 
make .... laws .... for the better government of 
the Citizens and of the several Societies of Arts & Occupations 
in the City." 

Confirmation is granted of the right to hold, as held imme- 
morially,! a Court of Equity before the Mayor and Justices of the 
Peace or any three of them the Mayor being one, upon bills & 
plaints exhibited by anj^ citizens or inhabitants in cases where an 
equitable remedy may appear & none can be obtained by Common 
Law, & to remove such causes from the Sheriffs' Court of Pleas.* 

The Mayor may take recognisances of the Statute Merchant. 
The Sheriffs may hold their Court of Pleas. All former Charters 
& Grants are confirmed on paymeYit of the fee farm rent & other 
usual payments. 

Witness myself at Westminster on the 26th day of June in 
the 15th year of our reign." 

By the King himself 

" Dedimus & concedimus . . Maiori Vicecomitibus Civibus 

& Communitati quod licitum sit & erit Maiori Vicecomitibus & Aldermannis 
pro tempore existentibus vel maiori parte eorum . . . . de assensu 
sexaginta Concivium pro Communi Consilio Civitatis predicte debito 
modo annuatim eligendorum sive maioris partis eorum presentis ad 

' No Court of Equity is mentioned by name before this date. The claim to 
immemorial use may refer to the powers granted to the Mayor by the Charter of Henry 
IV. (clause e) as agreed to in the Composition of 1415 (No. XLI. 5). The Municipal 
Reform Commissioners (Report IV. 2468) say " held by prescription and by Charter." 

=> Seal lost. 


50 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

aliquam congregacionem Maioris Vicecomitum Aldermannorum & Con- 
civium pro Civitate tenendam leges ordines & constituciones facere 
apponere & ordinare pro meliori gubernacione moderacione & regulacione 
Civium & separabilium Societatum Artium & Aucupacionum in Civitate 
consonantes bone fidei &c. 

* Cumque nobis datum est intelligi ex parte M. V. C. & C. quod 
Maior et Justiciarii Pacis vel aliqui tres vel plures eorum quorum Maior 
fuit unus extempore cuius contra memoria hominum non existit habuerunt 
& usi fuerunt habere & tenere Curiam Equitatis super Billas & Querelas 
coram eis exhibitas per aliquos Cives vel Inhabitantes Civitatis versus 
aliquas alias personas quascunque unde causa equitatis relevabilis 
apparebit pro & concernentes aliquam occasionem causam sectam vel 
materiam differentie ortas infra Civitatem et vocare & removere coram 
eis extra Curiam Placitorum in Civitate usualiter tentam coram Vice- 
comitibus talem accionem qual' in & super aliquam Billam vel Billas 
coram M. & Justic' exhibitas aliqua causa vel materia equitatis apparebit 
& unde persona querens remedium habere debuit antequam in huiusmodi 
occasione placitatum sit ad exitum et unde per Communem legem 
remedium habere non potuit &c. 

XXXII. Second Charter of Charles II. (Abstract.) [22 March, 

Charles &c. To all &c. Know ye that We graciously 
desiring the amelioration of our City of Norwich and County 
of the same City .... & at the humble petition of 
the latei Mayor Sheriffs Citizens & Commonalty of the City of 
Norwich .... have constituted .... that the aforesaid 
City should henceforth be & remain for ever a City incorporate 
and a County of itself. And that the Citizens and Inhabitants be 
& shall be one Body Corporate and politic in reality deed & 
name [in re facto & nomine] by the name of the Mayor, Sheriffs 
Citizens & Commonalty. 

The King, appoints John Low " primum & modernum Maiorem" 
till Tuesday before the feast of S' John Baptist ; Philip Stebbing 
& Laurence Goodwin " primos & modernos Vicecomites '' till 
Michaelmas ; twenty-four persons (named) to be "primos & modernos 
Aldermannos" for life, six being specified as Aldermen of each 
of the four great wards ; sixty " de melioribus & probioribus 

' The Charter of Liberties having been surrendered (Introduction VIII. 5) the 
Corporation is treated as having for the time ceased to exist. The expression ' ' first 
and modern "used of all the officials appointed is a claim that the future government 
of the city is to be traced solely to this act of Royal authority. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 5 1 

civibus," who shall be called & named Common Councillors 
[Communes Conslliarii] of the City for all things .... touch- 
ing the City Liberty Suburb & Precinct and their good rule state 
& government .... and be ... . assistants & aiders 
[assistentes & auxiliantes] of the Mayor Sheriffs & Aldermen for 
the time being. The King appoints by name these sixty " prim. 
& mod. Cives Consilarios " who are to continue in office for life, 
specifying twelve for Conesford, Berstrete & Trowse, sixteen for 
Mancroft, twenty for Wymer, twelve for Ultra Aquam. He appoints 
"consanguineum meum Willelmum Comitem de Yarmouth^ prim' 
& mod' Recordatorem " & Robert Davis "prim' & mod' Senes- 
callum," both to sit for life unless removed by the Common Council. 
Similarly Nicholas Morley is appointed Coroner and Thomas Cory 
Common Clerk. 

" And moreover of our special grace .... we have 
granted to the aforesaid Mayor Sheriffs Citizens & Commonalty 
that the Mayor for the time being and the Aldermen or any 
twelve or more of them for the time being & the two Sheriffs & 
the Common Councillors or the greater number of them be & 
shall be the Common Council of the City [Maior .... & 
Aldermanni .... & Vicecomites .... & Communes 
Consiliarii sint Commune Concilium^ Civitatis] for all future time 
for treating & determining all causes .... business .... 
whatsoever of the said Mayor Sheriffs Citizens & Commonalty." 

All vacancies are to be filled by election according to the 
custom of seven years past .... All ofifice bearers are to 
take the oaths of allegiance .... & make all due declarations. 
But no one is to take his oath till after twenty-eight days from 
election; within which time the King may object and on notice 
of such objection being received the ofifice is to be ipso facto vacated 
& a new election made .... 

Witness myself at Westminster on the 22nd day of March 
in the 35th year of our reign. 

By writ of Privy Seal. 

For fine paid into the hanaper of £6 i^s. i,d. 

T. North C. S." 

1 William Paston, of Oxnead, 2nd Earl of Yarmouth, who had married Catherine 
Boyle, a natural daughter of Charles II. (Blomefield, Hist. Norf., VI., 491 ; Gairdner, 
Paston Letters, 1896, I., xxi. 

2 On this statement as illustrating the meaning of the expression "Common Council, " 
see Introduction V. 8, note c, ' Seal; only two fragments remain. 

52 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

XXXIII. Concerning the Foundation of the Cathedral Church 
of the Holy Trinity of Norwich and other matters.^ 

(From the Book of Pleas, foil S8-59J 

In the one thousand and sixty-sixth year from the Incarnation 
of the Lord, WiUiam Duke of Normandy and Conqueror of the 
English was crowned on the day of the Nativity of the Lord. 
Who, in the year following, after the death of Herfast promoted 
his Clerk William Beaufeu to the Episcopate of Estanglia, who 
transferred the Episcopal seat from Elmham to Thetford. After- 
wards William King and Conqueror of the English went the way 
of all flesh in the twenty-second year of his reign and rests buried 
at Caen in Normandy, after whom reigned William Rufus his son 
who brought with him from Normandy to England one of his 
Chaplains Herbert Prior of Fescamps whom he much loved, on 
whom the King conferred the Abbey of Ramsey, [and^ in the 
third year after this William Bishop of Estanglia paid the debt 
of death, in whose place William Rufus the King substituted 
Herbert Abbot of Ramsey] and so he was made Bishop of 
Estanglia. Afterwards [it" came to pass by ordering of the grace 
of God that] the said Herbert the Bishop setting himself to establish 
the Cathedral seat in some fixed place for ever acquired and 
bought a certain place at Norwich Castle called Couholm, a 
pasture belonging to the Manor of Thorp, the inhabitants of which 
place had all their ecclesiastical sacraments and even burial at 
Thorp and at all times answered, with the men of the hundred of 
Blofeld, before the King's Justices with them of Thorp. Whence 
the way adjoining the said place on the part of the north 
has the name Holmstret. And within the said place called 
Couholm was situated a Church of S' Mary which was founded long 
before the Conquest, which men still in these days call the Church 
of S' Mary in the Marsh. And in proof of this all the Rectors of 

' This document is plainly compiled in order to set forth the justice of the claims of 
the Prior and Monks to exempt jurisdiction in certain parts of the City. As it constantly 
describes the grantor of the Charter to the Citizens in 1 194 as Richard the First, it cannot, 
unless this is a later interpolation, date earlier than the reign of Richard II. On the other 
hand, no mention is made of the conversion of the City into a County with an assumed 
extension of suburban jurisdiction by Henry IV. in 1404, nor of anything later than 1272. 
The original is given in Dugdale's Monasticon (IV. 17) from a copy found in the 
Chartulary of Binham Priory. It is here therefore translated. 

2 This clause is omitted in the Book of Pleas. 

" Omitted in the Bmham Chartulary, 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 53 

the churches of the deanery of Blofeld with their parishioners 
make a solemn procession from year to year and come to the 
church of S' Mary in the Marsh in procession on the Monday 
in the week of Pentecost. Therefore the said lord Herbert the 
Bishop having acquired an open place and had it confirmed to 
him by William Rufus by his charter, the tenor of which charter 
follows in these words : — William King of the English to Hum- 
phrey the Chamberlain and to Richard Passelew and to Odbert 
and to all his faithful, French and English, of Norfolk and Suffolk 
greeting. Know ye that I have given to Herbert the Bishop 
all those lands which Walkelin^ the Bishop and R. the chaplain 
and Roger Bigot saw and marked out and caused to be gone 
round^ for making his church and for making his houses for his 
Monks at Norwich Castle and that with sake and soke and all 
other customs, so however that the Bishop establish there Monks 
who may serve God there persevering to the end of the age. And 
you, Humphrey and Ralph and Odbert, seise" the Bishop thereof 
Witnesses W. the Bishop and Ranulph* the Chaplain at Salisbury: — 
the ground therefore being given to Herbert by the said Charter 
and confirmed to him, the said Bishop the lord Herbert in the 
year of the Lord one thousand and ninety-six and in the tenth 
year of the said King William Rufus began to build the Mother 
Church in the said place called Couholme in the name of the 
Holy Trinity and laid the first stone on which is there found 
written, The Lord Bishop Herbert laid the first stone In the 
name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit Amen. Which 
Cathedral Church he instituted and ordained for himself and his 
successors [and] procured to be established and confirmed by Pope 
Paschal as the Mother Church of Norfolk and Suffolk and prayed 
that it might remain so for ever. And he set the Palace of the 
Bishop on the north of the said church and the houses of the 
Monks on the south. And for having free egress and ingress 
upon his own ground to his church and the houses of his monks 
he acquired by exchange before the gates of his Monastery 
towards the west the palace of Roger Bigot Earl of Norfolk and 
the land of S' Michael belonging to the said palace, which in 
these modern days is called Tumlonde lying towards the west 

^ Binham Chartulary has ' ' William. '' 

2 circuiri, Book of Pleas; amensurari, Binham Charhilaty. 

" saisite, Binham Chartulary ; facite, Book of Pleas. 

* Rogero N., Binham Chartulary. 

54 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

before the gates of the Monastery. In' which land was formerly 
situated a Chapel in the name of S' Michael. Which Chapel the 
venerable Herbert the Bishop transferred and removed and caused 
to be set up on a certain hill towards the east of the said monastery 
on the north part of his^ church of S' Leonard which is now 
called the Chapel of S' Michael de Monte. And in memory of 
this Chapel the venerable Herbert the Bishop, in the same place 
where the Chapel had been founded, caused to be erected a stone 
cross and he had an image of S' Michael placed- on the summit, 
for a bound between the town and the franchise of his church 
and that cross was called the Cross of S' Michael and is still so 
called to this day. Which land of S' Michael with the land in 
Taverham William Rufus the King gave to the venerable Herbert 
the Bishop [and^ confirmed to the said Bishop by his charter 
of" which the tenor is as follows : — William Rufus King of the 
English to Herbert Bishop of Norwich] and to all his Barons of 
Norfolk and Suffolk greeting, Know ye that I have given to the 
Church of the Holy Trinity of Norwich on the petition of Roger 
Bigot the land of S' Michael' and the land of Taverham which 
belongs to the said land, always quit and free from all socs^ [? suits] 
and gelds and all other customs. Witness, Eudo the Dapifer at 
Westminster. Which land of S' Michael begins at the head of 
a certain lane called Neugate* which lay between the cemetery and 
the Church of S' Cuthbert on the south and the Manse of the 
Friars Minors. Which lane is included now in the said Manse 
of the said Friars and the said lane abutted upon the common 
way leading from Consford to Fybrigge and from that head by 
the middle of the King's highway towards the north tending to 
a wooden cross standing opposite to the Carnary which [way] at 
present is called Tumlonde, for which land and Manor of Taverham 
which then belonged to Earl Roger Bigott the venerable Bishop 
Herbert gave in exchange a carucate of land in Silham and another 
carucate of land in Wikes which Earl Roger gave to his monks of 
Thetford. And of the said palace of the Earl there remains one 
house before the gates of the Monastery called le Stonhowe^ And 

' Omitted in Book of Pleas. 
2 This is all omitted in Book of Pleas. 
' Binham Chartulary adds "de monasterio." 
^ Socis. Binham Chartulary has "sectis." 

^ In margin, in later hand, " Neugate, ats Bugate." Binham Chartulary, 
"Beugate." " Binham Chartulary. "le Stonhowse." 

Selected Records of the City of Norzvich. 55 

in order that the Monks might more securely hold that plot/ to 
wit, the palace of the Earl [and] the land of S' Michael with the 
land of Taverham, Earl Roger Bigott rendered into the hands 
of the said King William Rufus [that'' palace and] the land of 
S' Michael, which is now called Tumlond, with the land of 
Taverham, and the said King enfeoffed the lord Herbert the 
Bishop and his church of the Holy Trinity by his charter of 
the palace, the land of S* Michael and the land of Taverham in 
pure and perpetual alms and privileged them in all franchises 
as previously the Monastery was privileged. And all the rest of 
the precinct of the said church, that is, from the bridge of S' Martin 
towards the east by the middle of the water in circuit to Lovellestath 
towards the south and up a by lane leading to the common way of 
Nethirconsford and by that common way to the Messuages which 
formerly belonged to John de Marisco and Hawyse his wife and 
afterwards to Peter de Strumsawh, which now are within the 
close of the Friars Minors and from these Messuages by a'' lane 
called Bugate which formerly lay between the Cemetery of S' 
Cuthbert and the Friars Minors, which now is enclosed within 
the precinct of the Friars Minors as is plainly and clearly patent 
to one who looks into it, and from that lane abutting upon the 
common way toward the west leading from Consford to Fybrigge, 
which way includes toward the east that plot which formerly was 
the palace of Roger Bigott the Earl on one part, which is 
now called Raton rowe, and the aforesaid land of S' Michael 
which is now called le Tumlond and that way which separates 
or divides the franchises of the church from the franchises of the 
town, which way is divided before the great gates of the church 
and bounds the land of S' Michael towards the south, which is 
le Tumlond, from the land of the town towards the north and 
tends by the angle of the wall of the monastery to the bridge of 
S' Martin and includes the vacant plot of land lying before 
the gates of the Bishop's palace towards the north. Which 
precinct the said venerable Herbert the Bishop caused to be 
strengthened with Royal franchises and Papal privileges, obtaining 
that if any man endeavoured to expel the Monks or by rashly 
vexing them to wear them out^ or to take away diminish or detain 

' Placeam. ^ Omitted in Book of Pleas. 

' Book of Pleas, ' ' viam venellam ; " Binham ' CAardilary, ' ' unam veneliam. " 
•■ Book of Pleas, "temere vexando fa.ligare;" Binham Ckartulary, "nephanda 
temeritate fatigare.'' 

56 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

their goods, he should be struck by the sharp sword of Apostolic 
anathema. And it is to be observed that outside the walls of 
the monastery the said venerable Herbert the Bishop left out 
of the said precinct unenclosed towards the south of the said 
monastery the parish of S' Mary in the Marsh which was called 
in ancient charters "the Bishop's Soke," of which the greater part 
is within the close of the Friars Minors and downwards to the 
water and the Messuages of Master Hervey de Fakenham, which 
afterwards were of Sir Peter de Roscelyn and the whole way to 
Lovellestath. And moreover they are not of the town of Norwich 
nor do they answer with them in lot or shot but hold solely of 
the church of the Holy Trinity, to which they pay langable 
although the men of the town by intrusion and usurpation have 
interfered as they have done before in le Raton rowe. Which 
Raton rowe with other [places] before the burning of the Monastery' 
belonged to the parish church of S' Ethelbert over the gates of 
the Monastery and after the burning to the parochial church of 
S' Mary in the Marsh and at all times they were and still are 
within the jurisdiction of the Dean of the Manors of the Prior 
and Convent and do not attend upon the Dean of Norwich nor 
any other foreign minister of the Bishop, but they answer and 
have always answered at courts, leets and contributions^ with 
the men of Holmestret within the precinct of the franchise of 
the church of the Holy Trinity and not to the Bailiffs of the town 
of Norwich. Afterwards by chance it happened that King William 
was killed in the 14th year of his reign in the New Forest and 
after him reigned Henry his brother who confirmed all and singular 
the grants before made to the church of the Holy Trinity by his 
brother William Rufus and granted more franchises to the said 
church as is patent by his charters. Therefore when Henry the 
first had gone the way of all flesh in the 36th year of his reign 
Stephen his nephew, to wit, the son of the Count of Blois took up 
the rudder of government after the said Henry, who by his charters 
confirmed all and singular the gifts which his ancestors, to wit, 
William Rufus and Henry his brother had made to the church 
of the Holy Trinity, to wit, the aforesaid place Couholme and all 
others contained and included within the precinct in the circuit 
with all franchises as King William the second held them in 
his hand. And afterwards in the 17th year of the reign of Stephen 

' In 1272. ^ Binham Chartulary, " convenciones. " 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 57 

which was the year of the Lord 1152 the Community of the Town 
of Norwich made fine and accorded, as they say, with the said 
King Stephen for having Coroners and Bailiffs of themselves. But 
concerning this they have no Charter nor in time of need did 
they proffer one because never before the conquest nor after for 
100 years and more did they have Coroners nor Bailiffs of them- 
selves but only one Bailiff who in the name of the King held 
courts and collected amercements as it was in Beccles or in 
Bongey or in other towns where merchandise is sold. [And^ the 
said Bailiff of the town of Norwich never exercised his office 
within the precinct of the said land of Couholme nor of any 
other lands belonging to the liberties and franchises of the church 
of the Holy Trinity of Norwich.] And afterwards when Richard 
the first was King the aforesaid Community of Norwich took to 
farm from the hand of the said King Richard the first the City 
of Norwich with all its franchises and profits as the said King 
to that time had them in his hand and as the Charter of the 
said King Richard testifies, the date of which is on the 6th^ [sic] 
day of May in the 5th year of his reign, which was the year 
of the Lord 1194. And afterwards when sixty years had 
elapsed, to wit, in the 37th year of the reign of Henry HI. 
which was the year of the Lord I2[53]' the Commons of Nor- 
wich had license to enclose the said town with ditches which 
they could in no way do without prejudice of others by enclosing 
lands of other fees and other franchises and lying in divers 
hundreds, to wit, the aforesaid precinct of Couholme and 
the land of S' Michael which Herbert the Bishop acquired 
for founding his church in the hundreds of Blofeld and Taverham 
[and^ the land of Normanslond likewise in the hundred of Taverham] 
and the land of Thedwardescroft which now is called Neugate 
belonging to the Manor of Lakenham in the hundred of Hulpezerd" 
which lands King William the Second and Henry his brother, 
Kings of England, granted to the church of the Holy Trinity of 
Norwich and endowed with privileges and franchises as their 
charters testify, to hold with all franchises freely and quietly as 
the said Kings held them in their hands. And moreover the 
Commons of Norwich enclosed Goshill land belonging to the 

1 This sentence is omitted in Book of Pleas. ^ Binham Chartulary, "V"." 

3 Binham Chartulary has erroneously MCCIX. 

^ Omitted in Binham Chartulary. 

^ Binham Chartulary has "Humilizerde."' 

58 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Prioress of Carrowe lying from Consford gates to Berstret gates 
and the aforesaid precinct of Neugate and the croft of S' Mary 
in the Fields and the croft of S' Augustine where the bailiffs' of 
the hundred of Taverham hold their courts to the present day, 
and other lands they enclosed with ditches up to the gates of 
Fybrigge, and they made ditches on the land of the Prior of 
Norwich from the said gates of Fybrigge to Barregates out of 
those portions of land which before the 5th year of King Richard 
the first were privileged and endowed with divers franchises [and] 
totally separated from the said town of Norwich and given in 
pure and perpetual alms to the church of the Holy Trinity as 
in the Charters of Kings William the second Henry the first 
and Stephen may evidently appear, as Herbert the Bishop 
petitioned for them and gave them to the church of the Holy 
Trinity for ever, with other lands to that time being in the hand 
of the King. But when the town of Norwich was defined [and] 
enclosed with ditches, those lands which had not been privileged 
and endowed with franchises before the 5th year of the reign of 
King Richard the first, the said King Richard the first granted 
in farm to the Burgesses of Norwich which in those days he had 
in his hands, and not those which his progenitors granted and 
at the petition of the venerable Herbert confirmed to the church 
of the Holy Trinity by their charters. [And^ after the Commons 
had taken the town of Norwich to farm from the hand of King 
Richard as is aforesaid they began to plead against the Prior 
and Convent of the cathedral church of the Holy Trinity for 
having common pasture in the common of Lakenham towards 
Herfordbrigges and in the common towards Eton where they 
had never commoned before as in their own proper common, 
excepting only those who dwelt in Thedwardescroft, that is 
Neugate, who at that time were tenants of the manor of Lakenham 
and answerable to the leets and courts of the said manor, but 
in the nth [sic] year after the commons took the town of Norwich 
to farm which was the 6th year of the reign of King John the 
monks and commons came to an agreement as appears by the 
final concord made at Woodstok and so that controversy ceased, 
which was the first controversy between the mother church and 
the commons of Norwich]. 

1 Binhant Ckartulary has ' ' balliuus .... tenet. " 
'^ This paragraph is omitted in the Book of Pleas. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 59 

And therefore you who have not [in^ true and certain know- 
ledge the mode or] the process of the foundation of your Mother 
Church of the Holy Trinity of Norwich thus briefly without default 
or fraud may hear it," as it is best found in the charters of kings 
and chronicles of Bishops and other evidences. 

XXXIV. Opposition of the County People to the enclosure 
of the City in 1253. 

(P R. O. Ancient Petition, 8942 J 

To our Lord the King his people of Norwich shew that whereas 
they have licence to wall and enclose the said town" as they shall 
see that it may be best for the profit of the King and the greater 
security of the town, accordingly they began to enclose the said 
town & ordain 9 chief gates which will much require great guard 
in tinie of war. Then come the strangers of the country who 
were wont to enter & go out of the said town at their will where 
ever they wished by default of enclosure & now cannot do so, 
[and] cause to be presented at the tourn of the Sheriff that the 
people of the said town of Norwich have disturbed their common 
ways, wherefore the Sheriff amerces them at the same time in 10 
marks & 10 pounds at his will whereof the people of Norwich 
pray remedy of it. 

A nostra seigneur le Roy mustrent ses gent3 de Norwy3 que par la 
ou il ont conge de murer & encloir la dite ville sicome ils verront que 
meut3 soit au profit le Roy & greynure surete de la ville si unt il commence 
de cete ville encloir & ordene neof chief portes que molt demanderont 
graunde garde en temps de gerre, venent les foreyns du pays qui soleyent 
entrer & issir le dite ville a lour volonte par la ou il voleyent par defaute 
de enclosure & ore ne le poont pas issi fere, fount presenter au tourn de 
visconte que les gentj de la dite ville de Norwys ont destourbe3 lour 
communes voyes parquoi le visconte lour amercie a la foit3 en dis marcs 
& dis liures a sa volonte dont les gent3 de Norwy3 de coe prient 

' Omitted in Book of Pleas. 

2 The conclusion of the document in the Binham Chartulary runs thus ; "may 
hear it and have true knowledge, as we find it in Papal bulls, in charters of kings 
and bishops, in chronicles and other trustworthy and sufficiently authenticated 

8 Introduction III., 5. 

* Endorsement too defaced to be intelligible. 

6o Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

XXXV. Extracts from the Letter of Pope Gregory against 
the Citizens of Norwich after the Riot of 1272. 

(^Froni Chronicle of Bartholomew de Cotton, Rolls Series, Vol. xvi. 

p. 421.) 

Gregorius episcopus, servus servorum Dei, venerabilibus fratribus 
Londoniensi & Eliensi episcopis salutem & apostolicam benedic- 
tionem. [The Prior & Convent of Norwich had complained^ that 
the citizens, pursuing some fugitives who had fled into the 
Monastic precinct, had presumptuously broken into the Church 
of S' Ethelbert, the Almonry & other parts of their privileged site. 
And when the Bishop of Norwich had punished them by sentences 
of interdict & excommunication] Memorata Universitas et specialiter 
Nicholaus de Ely, Willelmus de Donewyco, Adam le Hespiter 
[Especer], Rogerus de Swerdeston, rectores^ civitatis ipsius, qui 
balliui vulgariter nuncupantur, necnon magister Johannes le Brun 
clericus Norwicensis, Robertus de Couventre, Hugo filius ejus, 
Johannes Knot junior, Willelmus le Cunte, Walterus Knot, Hugo 
Scissor, Johannes Nade, Adame de Tostes [Toftes], Simon le 
Palmere, Johannes Lestot [Le Scot], Willelmus Payn, Thomas de 
Carletone, Paulus dictus Benedicite, Johannes dictus le Graunt & 
Henricus de Heylesdone, cives Norwicenses, quorum consilio eadem 
universitas tunc temporis regebatur, [because the said persons had 
been received into the monastery, moved with passion, planned an 
iniquitous design]. De ipsius namque monasterii finali exterminio 
dolosa ineuntes consilia, ea juramentis & aliis variis colligationibus 
roborarunt ; et demum omnibus de universitate predicta, qui 
duodecimum suae aetatis annum exegerant, voce preconis et per 
campanae sonum ad extremum ipsius monasterii convocatis 
exterminium, univeritas ipsa hostilibus insultibus in monasterium 
predictum insiliit &c. [Here follows an account of the damage 
done. Afterwards the Pope orders sentence of excommuni- 
cation to be proclaimed throughout all England against the 
rioters] et specialiter ac nominatim rectores sive balliuos et con- 
siliarios supradictos, qui magis culpabiles in premissis excessibus 

et eorundem quasi principales fuisse dicuntur actores, &c 

Datum apud Urbem Veterem iii° idus Martii pontificatus nostri 
anno primo [1273. The MS. of Cotton's Chronicle at Norwich has 
viii id : Februarii], 

' Introduction III., 6. 

2 These Bailiffs had been elected at Michaelmas, 1271. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 6 1 

XXXVI. Complaint of the " Middle People " of the City. 
(P. R. O. Ancient Petition, 6435. Early Fourteenth Century.) 

To our Lord the King, the middle people of the Community 
of the town of Norwich shew that, as our Lord the King of his 
grace has granted certain Justices to have the account of the 
collections tallages and fines levied from the middle people since 
his coronation by the Bailiffs and by the Rich of the said town, 
when the Justices came to view the account the said Bailiffs & 
the Rich who expected to be found guilty spoke so fair towards 
the said middle people undertaking that all things done towards 
them should be so redressed & amended that they should have 
no occasion to complain & from that time forward no tallage 
should be levied from them without the common assent of them 
all & for that promise they ceased from their suit for that time, 
& now come the Bailiffs & the Rich contrary to their promise 
aforesaid & have levied now afresh since the departure of the 
King^ & the Justices aforesaid 200 marks without warrant & more- 
over threaten to make a higher tallage from one day to another 
at their will, whereof they complain & pray our Lord the King 
that he will please to command that the Justices hear the account 
aforesaid according to the Commission which they have from the 
King & that it will please the King to grant that such tallages 
be no more levied without special warrant of the King. For if 
the King do not set a remedy to this thing they will be so 
destroyed that they will be no longer of power to serve the King 
when the time shall come. 

Dorse. Norw. Norf Before the Council. 

Let them sue their account before his Justices assigned to 
this purpose & if the tallage has been made beyond the assent 
of the Community let them have a Writ from the Chancery against 

1 The King referred to must be Edward II. who signed an order for a Muster at 
Norwich on 26 January, 1326 (Sot: Fat: 19 E. II., pt. I). Ancient Petition No. 
6506 seems to refer to the same complaint. In it the "poor people of the Community 
of Norwy3 " state that the King had sent Walter de Norwich and his fellows to Norfolk 
to enquire into complaints against his Bailiffs. At Norwich the Bailiffs had packed the 
jury, so that complainants dared not come. They pray that the Bailiffs may be sus- 
pended from ofiSce during enquiry and that John Bourt and Richard de Toft may be 
heard on their behalf. Both requests were granted. Walter de Norwich, a Baron of 
the Exchequer, lived into the reign of Edward III., and Richard de Toftes was alive 
in 1337- 

62 Selecled Records of the City of Norwich. 

those who have laid such a tallage upon them that they be before 
the King to answer to the King & them &c., & that henceforth 
it be not done. 

A nostra seigneur le Roi monstrent les menes gent3 de la cominaute 
de la ville de Norwij que come nostre seigneur le Roi de sa grace 
eust grante certeignes Justices avoir lacompt des cueillettes taillages & 
fyns leuees des dit3 menes genj puis son coronemente par les Bailiffs 
& par les Riches de mesme la ville quant les Justices vindront voir 
cele acompt les Bailiffs & les Riches auaundit3 qui entenderent estre 
trove coupables parlount tant bel deuers les menes gen3 prestrent a 
main que totes choses deuers eaux faites serroient si redrestrees & amendees 
quil naueraient mester de pleindre & de cele hore enauant nul tallage ne 
serroit leue de eaux san3 comun assent de eaux tous & pour cele promesse 
il cesseront de lur swite a eel foit3, & ore venent les Bailiffs & les Riches 
encontre lur promesse auauntdit & ont leue3 ore de nouele puis le departir 
le Roi & les Justices auaundits cc marcs san3 garant & encore manassent 
de plus haut tallage faire de jour en autre a lur volonte de quoi il se 
pleignent & prient nostre seigneur le Roi quil vueille comander que les 
Justices oient la compt auaundit selonc la commission que il ont depart le 
Roi & quil pleise au Roi qil lui graunt que cieux taillages ne soient mes 
leue3 san3 especial garant du Roi. Car si le Roi ne mette remedie en 
ceste chose il serront si destruit qil ne serront mie de poer de seruir le 
Roi quant temps seroit. 

Dorse. Norw. Norf. Coram Consilio. 

Sequantur compotum suum coram Justiciis suis ad hoc deputatis 
& si tallagium factum fuit preter assensum communitatis habeant breue 
de Cancellaria versus eos qui tale tallagium eis imposuerunt quod sint 
coram Rege quod respondeant Regi & eis &c . . . . & quod de cetero 
non fiat. 

XXXVII. Extract from a Plea between the Town of Great 
Yarmouth & the Community of Norwich. (Translation) 

fFrom Book of Pleas, fol. xxi.^ 

Pleas before the King in the 6th year of the reign of Edward 

III. (1332). 

On which day [date not given] came as well the Community 
of Great Yarmouth by Roger Grisel their attorney as the Citizens 
of Norwich by their attorney. And the aforesaid Community 
proffers here in court a charter of the lord Edward formerly King 
of England grandfather of the lord King now concerning certain 

Selected Records of the City of Nortmch. 63 

liberties granted to the Burgesses of the town of Great Yarmouth 
in these words, Edward &c. And they say that the said Town 
of Great Yarmouth is situated on an arm of the sea where the 
lord King & no one else can at his will grant a port & confirm it 
whereby the said Community by virtue of the said grant of 
the liberties contained in the said charter has justly used &c. 
And the said Citizens of Norwich say that the City of Norwich 
was a merchant town [villa mercatoria] & a city of the realm 
of England & situate upon a river of water which extends 
from the high sea to the said city & there were there & still 
are a fair twice a year & a market every day in the week 
[&] mooring [applicatio] of ships & boats as well of the said 
citizens as of other strangers coming thither with all kinds of 
merchandise & goods [cum universis mercandisis & mercimuniis] 
from time whereof no memory exists before the town of Great 
Yarmouth was settled [situata] & inhabited And they say that 
the citizens of that time freely quietly & without hindrance of 
any could buy & sell all kinds of merchandise & goods at Little 
Yarmouth [now Southtown] & through the whole realm of England 
& load & carry such merchandise & goods to the said city of 
Norwich as well by land as by water from the high sea by the 
aforesaid arm of the sea which is now called the Port of Great 
Yarmouth up to the said city of Norwich. And likewise the 
merchant strangers did so in that manner & [were wont at] the 
said city, on paying the accustomed dues [custumas consuetas] to 
the Kings of England who then held the said city in their hands, 
to wit, for every laden ship 4^. & for every laden boat [batello] 2d. 
& other divers customs & profits, to discharge there their goods & 
merchandise & expose them for sale And afterwards before the 
time of memory a certain King of England Henry FitzEmprcss 
granted to the then citizens the city with all its liberties free 
customs [consuetudinibus] & appurtenances from the said lord 
King & his heirs for ever Rendering therefor yearly to the 
Exchequer of the said King and of his heirs Kings of England 
;^lo8, which said liberties customs & profits to the said city 
then belonging were extended & [a blank in the record] to be 
paid in aid of the said farm to the lord King & of the farm of 
the city granted to the citizens .... [After quoting a charter 
of Henry the King's great grandfather, Henry HI. (omitting that 
of Richard I.) & also a charter of King Edward H. confirming 
the grant of these liberties, tolls &c they plead that 

64 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

if these are taken away the citizens could not sustain & maintain 
their farm]. And now the men of the town of Great Yarmouth by 
force & maliciously .... cause the foreign merchants wishing 
to pass through their port to be stopped & the vessels discharged, 
& the herrings & other goods which the citizens of Norwich have 
been wont to buy freely at Little Yarmouth & carry to Norwich, 
the men of Great Yarmouth cause to be adjudged to them as 
though forfeited in the way of forstalment. They pray that the 
King would order an Inquisition "ad quod damnum'' to be taken 
to enquire into the injury thus done to the rights of the citizens 
of Norwich .... 

The result of the plea is not here recorded. 

XXXVIII. Petition of the " Citizens " in 1378.1 

(P. R. 0. Ancient Petition, 892. J 

To our Lord the King & his most wise Council in this present 
parliament all his humble lieges the citizens of Norwich beseech 
, . . . Also whereas of old time till now they have used such 
custom that is to say upon new defaults & mischief, if any should 
be or arise in such manner that their ancient usages could not 
aid to remedy them by new ordinances, to do amongst themselves 
& in their said town & to remedy such [defaults] as seemed to 
them best according to good faith & reason for the common profit 
of their town & of the citizens & of others coming or abiding 
there, nevertheless because many of the commune of their town 
have of late been very greatly contrarious & perchance will still 
be [?] so unless there be there better remedies & ordinances for 
the good government of the town & of victuals. [They pray 
that] the 4 Bailiffs & 24 citizens elected each year for the 
commune of the said town, or the greater part of them may have 
power to make & establish in the said city such ordinances & 
remedies for the good government of the said town & of the 
citizens & people there coming and abiding as shall seem to them 
most accordant with good faith & profitable for the King our 
lord & for his people, & that they shall henceforth be able to 
amend & correct such remedies & ordinances from time to time 
as need shall be & as shall seem good to them for the common 
profit of the people. And that such articles may be added to 

1 Introduction IV. 13 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 65 

your gracious grant made to them in your first parliament, for 
God & in way of ciiarity without paying a fine for them in your 
chancery because they made a Balynger & that thereon it be 
commanded to the Keeper of the privy seal on your behalf that, 
as well of this your grace as of other grace before made to the said 
suppliants, he make sufficient warrant to the Chancellor of your 
privy seal above said. 

Endorsement— As to the first article there is a statute made 
in this parliament & according to the form of the said statute be 
it granted to them. And as to the second article it is also agreed in 
parliament that if their customs & usages before' this time had & 
used there be in future difficult or defective in part or in whole, 
or for any causes anew arising there for which due remedy has not 
before been provided have need of amendment, that then the 
Bailiffs & 24 citizens of the said city so to be chosen there each 
year or the greater part of them have henceforth power to ordain 
& provide from time to time such remedies which may be most 
accordant with good faith & reason & most profitable for the 
good and peaceable government of the town & of other strangers 
there coming, as often & when it seems good to them to do for 
the common profit, provided that these their ordinances are 
profitable for our Lord the King & his, people & accordant with 
good faith & reason as is above said. And let them have their 
charter thereon without paying a fine for it considering that they 
have made a Balynger together with the other articles granted to 
them before this time. 

A nostre seigneur le Roy & son tressage conseil en cest present 
parlement suppliant tou3 les seones humbles lieges les citiseins de Norwi3 
. . . Item cement que dauncien temps ils ont tanque en ceo use3 
tiel custume cest assauoir sur nouveulx defautes & meschief si 
nulles y feussent ou sourdissent par maniere tielle que lour auncienes 
usages ne purroient aider de les remedier par nouvelles ordinances 
a faire entre eux mesmes & deinj lour ville auaundite & de tielles 
remedier come mieltz lour sembloit acordant a bon foy & reson pour 
commune profit de lour ville & des citijeins & dautres venant3 ou con- 
uersants illocques nient meins pur ceo que plusieurs de la commune de lour 
dite ville ont este ore tarde moelt grauntement contrarious & unquore 
perauenture verront sinoun que les raelliours remedes & ordinaunces pur 
le bone gouvernement du ville & de vitailles y avoir que les quatre bailiffs 
& xxiiij citi3eins eslu3 chescun an par la commune de la dite ville ou la 


66 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

greindre partie de ceux aient poair de faire & etablier deins la dite citte 
tieux ordinances & remedes pur le bon gouvernement de la dite ville & de 
cite3eins & del poeple illocques venant3 ou conuersant3 queux lour 
semblont mielt3 accordant3 a bone foye & profitable pur le Roi nostra 
seigneur & pur son poeple & que ycelles remedes & ordinaunces ils 
purront desore amender & corriger de temps en temps quant embusoignera 
& bon lour semblera pur le commune profit del poeple. Et que cestes deux 
articles purront estre adiouste^ a vostre gracious graunt fait a eux en vostre 
prim parlement pur dieu & en oeure de charite san3 fyn en paier en vostre 
chancellerie a cause qils firent un balynger & que sur ce comande soit al 
Gardein du prive seal de par vous que sibien de ceste vostre grace come del 
autre grace deuant faite as dit3 suppliant3 il eut face suffisant garrant a 
Chanceller de vostre prive seal dessudit. 

Endorsement. Quant au prim article il y a estatut ent fait en ce 
parlement & selon la forme de mesme lestatut soit ce a eux graunte. Et 
quant al seconde article assentu3 est auxint en parlement que si lour 
custome & usages deuaunt ceste beure eue3 & use3 illocques soit 
auennement difficulteuses ou defectives en partie ou en tout ou par 
aucunes causes de nouel sourdant3 illocques pur quelles due remede 
nestait deuant purveu3 aient besoigne damendement que adonqs les 
Bailiffs & xxiiij cite3eins de mesme la citee issint a eslir illocsque chescun 
an ou la greindre partie deyceux aient desore poair dordeigner & 
purvoies de temps entemps des tielles remedes que mieltes soient accordant3 
a bon foy & reson & pluis profitables al bon & peisible gouvernement del 
ville & dautres estranges illocques venant3 si souent & quant3 lour 
mielt3 semblee a affaire pur commune profit parissint que ycelles lours 
ordinances soient profitables pur nostre seigneur le Roi & son poeple 
& accordantes a bone foy & reson come dessous est dit Et ent aient 
lour chartre san3 fyn paier pur ycell purtant qils ont fait une Balynger 
ensemble aux les autres articles a eux devant cestre heure grante3. 
(Enrolled in Rot: Pari: & printed in R. P. III., 41 b.) 

XXXIX. The Complaints of the Major Part of the Com- 
monalty in 1414 addressed to Sir Thomas Erpingham. 

(Case 8, Shelf c.) 

I. Querele ex parte maioris partis Ciuium et Communitatis 
Norwici contra Venerabiliores ciues eiusdem Ciuit^tis nuncupates.^ 

I. The Complaints on the part of the major part of the Citizens 
and Commonalty of Norwich against those who are called the more 
venerable citizens of the said City. 

1 Introduction IV. 14 ; V. 4. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 67 

Ceux sont les peticions articules et greuaunces depar la greindre 
partie de les citiseins et la Commonalte de la Cite de Norwicg 
monstre3 et baille3 au treshonourable seignor monsieur Thomas 
Erpingham Chivaler arbitrour et iuge eslu parentre les prudes homes 
cite3eins de dite qui sont appele3 gents destat eri mesme la cite 
dune partie et de la dite greindre partie des citeseins et Commonalte 
de lautre partie, pour arbitrement & iuggement donner sur touts les 
actions quereles controuersies dissensions descordes et debates 
parentre les dit3 parties eue3 ou moeues deuaunt le terce iour 
d aprile Ian de regne le Roy Henry quint apres le conquete seconde/ 
pour occasion dascuns libertees ou fraunchises par les progenitours 
de mesme nostre seignor le Roy a les citeseins ou al Commonaltee 
de dite citee grauntes, ou pour occasion dascuns usages ou 
ordonaunces en mesme la citee uses o" faits. As queux peticions 
articles et greuaunces la dite greindre partie des citegeins et com- 
monaltee fait protestacion de adder & amenuser des choses a eux 
necessaires et besoignables parissint qils ne soient conclu3 de 
riens en mesmes les petitions articles et greuances compris ou 
nient compris. 

2. En primes la dite greindre partie de les Citeseins et 

These are the petitions articles and grievances on the part of the 
greater part of the citizens and the Commonalty of the City of Norwich 
shown and delivered to the right honourable lord Sir Thomas Erpingham 
knight elected arbiter and judge between the prudhommes, citizens of 
the said [city] who are called People of Estate in the said city, of the 
one part and the aforesaid greater part of the citizens and Commonalty 
of the other part, to give arbitrament and judgment upon all the 
actions quarrels controversies dissensions discords and debates between 
the said parties had or moved before the 3''' day of April in the 
second year of King Henry the V. after the conquest by occasion of 
any hberties or franchises granted by the progenitors of our said lord 
the King to the citizens or to the Commonalty of the said city, or by 
occasion of any usages or ordinances in the said city used or made. 
To which petitions articles and grievances the said greater part of the 
citizens and commonalty make protestation [of right] to add and 
diminish the things which to them are necessary and needful, so that 
they be not restricted to anything in the said petitions articles and 
grievances comprised or not comprised. 

2. First the said greater part of the Citizens and Commonalty 

1 3rd April, 1 4 14. 

68 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Commonalte suppliont oue tout reuerence et obeisance qe toutj les 
articules des libertees et fraunchises par les progenitors nostre dit 
Seignor le Roy graunteg et confirmed a les Cite3eins ou al Com- 
monaltee de la Citee de Norwic3 soient effectuelment tenu3 gardes 
et obserue3 en touts point3 soient la purport et effet dicelles 
forsque un article de liberie a eux grauntes par le darrein Roy 
Richard en cest forme,i Preterea concessimus predictis ciuibus nostris 
quod si fortassis alique consuetudines in dicta ciuitate hactenus 
optente & usitate in aliqua sui parte difficiles sine deficientes 
existant, sic quod propter aliqua in eadem ciuitate de nouo 
emergencia ubi remedium prius clare non extiterit ordinatum 
emendacione indigeant, Balliui dicte Ciuitatis tunc pro tempore 
existentes de assensu viginti quatuor conciuium suorum pro 
communitate singulis annis eligendorum vel maioris partis eorundem 
xxiiij" sic eligendorum auctoritatem habeant et potestatem reme- 
dium congruum bone fidei et consonum rationi pro communi 
utilitate ciuium ciuitatis predicte et aliorum fidelium nostrorum ad 
eandem confluencium apponendi ac eciam ordinandi, et ordinaciones 
suas huiusmodi execucioni debite demandandi' quoties et quando 

aforesaid Beseech with all reverence and obeisance that all the articles 
of the liberties and franchises by the progenitors of our lord the King 
granted and confirmed to the Citizens and Commonalty of the City ot 
Norwich be effectually held guarded and observed in all points 
according to the purport and effect thereof, except an article ot 
liberty granted to them by the late King Richard in this form, — 
" Moreover we have granted to our aforesaid citizens that if perchance 
any customs in the said city held and used be in any part of them- 
selves difficult or deficient in such wise that, on account of any things 
in the said city anew arising where a remedy has not before been 
clearly ordained, they are in need ot emendation the Bailiffs of the 
said city then for the time being, with the consent of the 24 their 
fellow citizens to be chosen for the commonalty every year or ot 
the greater part of the said 24 so to be chosen, may have authority 
& power of applying and also ordaining a remedy agreeable to good 
faith and consonant to reason for the common utility of the citizens 
of the said city and of other our faithful [lieges] consorting to the 
same, and of duly putting into execution their ordinances of this sort 
as often and when there shall be need and it shall seem to them to be 

1 By Charter of 15th February, 1380. No. XVI. Introduction IV. 13. 
^ Giving them in cliarge to tlie proper persons to be carried out. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 69 

opus fuerit et eis videbitur expedire. Dumtamen ordinaciones ille 
sint nobis et populo nostra utiles ac bone fidei et consone ration! 
sicut predictum est. La quele libertee purchace estoit par certaines 
persones en especial al denominacion & ordinaunce les dit3 prudes- 
homes, et priuement sans assent de la Commonalte et nient conisant 
de tiel purchace tanqe as tarde qils auaient un mair illocqes, le 
quele articule ausi est defectif pur ceo que les Bailiffs par assent 
de xxiiij concitegeins ou de la greindre partie de les xxiiij seulement 
et nient fesant mencion de lassent la dite Commonaltee come 
il deueroit estre fait de droit et reson dussent mettre remedie de 
les usages come dessus est dit. Et auxi la dite articule est defectif 
pur ceo qe les xxiiij nont mye iouit poer et par lassent del 
Commonaltee^ come ont les M et Aldermannes de la citee de 
Londres come en un articule de libertee en semblable caas a eux 
graunteg pleynement appiert dount la forme cy ensuye,^ Concessim'us 
insuper pro nobis & heredibus nostris & hac carta nostra confirm- 
auimus maiori & aldermannis Ciuitatis predicte quod si fortasse 
alique consuetudines in dicta ciuitate hactenus optente & usitate 

expedient. Provided that these ordinances are useful to us and our 
people and consonant to good faith and reason as is aforesaid.'' The 
which liberty was procured by certain persons in especial at the naming 
and ordering of the said prudeshommes and privily without assent of 
the commonalty and [they being] nothing cognizant of such procure- 
ment until of late that they had a Mayor there. Which article is also 
defective for that the Bailiffs by assent of the 24 concitizens or of the 
greater part of the 24 only and making no mention of the assent of 
the said Commonalty, as ought to have been made by right and reason, 
should set a remedy of the usages as is above said. And also the said 
article is defective for that the 24 have never enjoyed power and [? even] 
by the assent of the Commonalty as have the Mayor and Aldermen of 
the city of London as in an article of liberty in like case to them granted 
fully appears, of which the form here follows, — "We have granted 
further for ourselves and our heirs and by this our charter have 
confirmed to the Mayor and Aldermen of the aforesaid city that if 
perchance any customs in the said city heretofore held and used be in 

1 The assertion of the Complainants is that the twenty-four never had this power, 
whether with or without assent of the Commonalty. The Mayor and Aldermen of 
London have enjoyed it but with assent, &c. 

2 By Charter 4th December, I J77 (Birch, Charters of City of London, p. 70). 

7o Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

in aliqua sui parte difficiles siue defectiue fuerint, sic quod propter 
aliqua in eadem ciuitate de nouo emergencia ubi remedium prius 
dare non extitit ordinatum emendacione indigeant, iidem Maior 
et Aldermanni eorum heredes et successores de assensu Com- 
munitatis eiusdem Ciuitatis remedium congruum bone fidei et 
consonum rationi pro communi utilitate ciuium ciuitatis predicte 
& aliorum fidelium nostrorum ad eandem confluencium apponere 
possint & ordinare quatenus & quando eis videbitur expedire. 
Dumtamen ordinaciones huiusmodi nobis 8: populo nostro utiles 
et bone fidei ac consone fuerint rationi ut predictum est. Sur 
quoy les citi3eins et la commonaltee de la Cittee de Norwic3 
nadgairs de leur commune consent tretauntj par certeins persones 
deux mesmes aices eslus sur diuerse3 matieres ils accederent sur 
la dite articule une autre fourme & auxi sur autres diuersez 
articules come en un escript^ sur le dit trete fait et engrose desout3 
le commune seal & le seal de mairaltee de la citee pleynement est 
compris. Pur quoy la dite greindre partie des citi3eins et 
comunaltee supplient come dessus a vous nostre seignor et iuge 
susdit qe touts les articules en le dit escript compris seroient 
garde3 et obserue3 selont le purport effect et entent dycelles. 

any part of themselves difficult or defective so that, on account of any 
things in the said city newly arising where a remedy before has not 
been clearly ordained, they need amendment the said Mayor and 
Aldermen, their heirs and successors, with assent of the Commonalty 
of the said city may apply and ordain a remedy agreeable to good 
faith and consonant to reason for the common utility of the citizens of 
the said city and of other our faithful [lieges] resorting to the same, as 
often as and when it shall seem to them to be expedient. Provided 
that such ordinances be useful to us and our people and of good 
faith and consonant to reason as is aforesaid." Whereupon the citizens 
and the commonalty of the city of Norwich lately of their common 
consent treating by certain persons of themselves to that end elected 
upon divers matters, they added on the said article another form and 
so on other articles as in a writing on the said treaty made and 
engrossed under the common seal and the seal of the Mayoralty of the 
city is fully contained. Whereupon the said greater part of the citizens 
and commonalty make supplication as above to you our aforesaid lord 
and judge that all the articles in the said writing contained may be 
kept and observed according to the purport effect and intent thereof. 

1 Perhaps the Ordinance passed and sealed on gth February, 1414. Introduction 
V. 5. Extracts from Assemblies, No. cxciii. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich, 7.1 

3. Item la dite greyndre partie des Citi'seins et la Comunalte 
suisdite soy pleint qe par lou dauncien temps il y auoi en la 
dite Cite Bailifs tanqe al Ann quinte le pere nostre seignor le 
Roy qore est qil par sa chartre^ graunta as dit3 citi3eins et 
Comunalte qeles duissent eslire en mesme la Cite un Mair et deux 
Viscountg, la les ditj prudeshomes appelleg le gent destate de 
mesme la Cite ount desturbeg la dite greindre partie des citi3eins 
et Comunalte de lour eleccion de tiel mair en cest fourme 
Cestassauoir lou la Comunalte Ian le dit nadgairs Roy vij™= auoient 
eslu3 en lour mair un William Appulyerde les dit3 prudeshomes 
entour le temps de trois semaigne3 deuaunt le fyn de mesme lan^ 
oue fort mayn et encontre la volonte de la dit Comunalte deposerent 
le dit William de son office de mairalte & pristeront de luy lespee 
de son office, et ausi par lou mesme la Comunalte deuant le fyn 
du dit an vij"'= auoient esluz le dit William pur estre mair illeocqes 
pur Ian ensuiant les dit3 prudeshomes refusant3 celle eleccion de 
lour autorite demesne et encontre la force et leffect del chartre 
suisdit firent un Wauter Danyel mair de mesme la cite deuant 

3. Also the said greater part of the citizens and commonalty 
aforesaid complain that whereas of ancient time there have been 
Bailiffs in the said City until in the 5* year of the father of our lord 
the King that now is he by his charter granted to the said citizens 
and Commonalty that they might choose in the said City a Mayor 
and 2 Sheriffs, yet the said prudeshommes who are called the people 
of estate of the said City have disturbed the said greater part of the 
citizens and Commonalty of their election of such Mayor in this form, 
that is to say, whereas the Commonalty in the 7* year of the said 
late King had chosen for their Mayor one William Appelyerd the said 
prudeshommes about the time of 3 weeks before the end of the said 
year with strong hand and against the will of the said Commonalty 
deposed the said William from his office of Mayoralty and took from 
him the sword of his office, and also whereas the said Commonalty 
before the end of the said 7* year had chosen the said William to be 
Mayor there for the year ensuing, the said prudeshommes, refusing 
that election, of their own authority and contrary to the force and 
effect of the charter aforesaid made one Walter Danyel Mayor of the 

1 28th January, 1404. 

2 Henry's 7th regnal year ended on 29th September, 1406, the very day when a 
new Mayoral year at that tune began. Probably the " prudeshommes " had elected 
a new Mayor and Sheriffs on the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, 8th September. See 
Introduction V. 4. 

72 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

le fyn de dit an vij™ et saun3 dhue eleccion faite en ceste partie 
et mesme lestat luy firont continuer tout Ian viij™ proschein 
ensuant & outre ceo chacun an apres le dit an viij tanqe en ceo 
la dite greindre partie des cite3eins et comunalte en lour eleccion 
deg mair et viscounts del dite cite par les dit3 prudeshomes et 
par maintenance dun congregation de certein poeple deins mesme 
la cite de3 citeseiiis et comunalte appelleg la bachelery^ queux 
sount iureg et entrealieg par lour serement as ditg prudeshomes 
de steer ensemble en tout3 lours quereles, par cause de quex 
serements et entrealiaunt3 la dite greindre partie des citeseins et 
comunalte en ceste partie continuelment ount estes destourbes 
qils ne pouroient lour eleccion franchement faire et parfourmer 
dount graunde mischief ad este et uncors est verroisemblement 

4. Item lou en la dite Cite il ad este use qe chacun an par 
poi deuant le fest de Saint Michell deux citeseins de mesme la 
Cite ount este eslu3 pour estre Tresorers de tout3 rents profites 
et comodites illoeqes al commune use del comunalte dicelle 
prouenaunt3 les quex tresorers ount use3 annuelement dentrer 
lour office en le feste de Saint Michell, et qe le3 tresorers de Ian 

said city before the end of the said y'^" year and without due election 
made on that behalf and they continued the said estate to him the 
whole 8"^ year next ensuing and besides this each year after the 
said 8* year until thereby the said greater part of the citizens and 
commonalty in their election of the mayor and sheriffs of the said city 
by the said prudeshommes and by the maintenance of an assembly 
of certain people within the said city, of the citizens and commonalty, 
called la bachelery who are sworn and inter-allied by their oath to the 
said prudeshommes to stand together in all their quarrels, by reason 
of which oaths and inter-alliances the said greater part of the citizens 
and commonalty in that behalf have been continually disturbed so that 
they could not make and perform their election freely, whereby great 
mischief has been and still is likely to come. 

4. Also whereas in the said city it has been used that every year 
a little before the feast of S'- Michael 2 citizens of the said city have 
been chosen to be Treasurers of all rents profits and easements there 
issuing to the common use of the commonalty thereof, which treasurers 
have used annually to enter their office on the feast of S'- Michael, and 

^ Introduction V. lo. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 73 

precedent apres lour discharge de tiel office ount use de coiller 
& resceuer les fermes rentes et autres comodite3 deins mesme la 
cite sourdant3 ^t dhue3 au dite comunaltee a le feste de Saint 
Michell saung porter aucun charge entour la commune profit de 
mesme la cite des fermes rentes et comodite3 auaundit3 apres 
mesme le feste de Saint Michell, par lou deins mesme la cite 
deuant hoeres feussent eslu3 deux chamberleyns par lavys et 
lassent de tout3 les cite3eins et comunalte de mesme la cite al 
entent pour resceuer et garder tout3 les deniers des dettes et 
duites qeconqes remaignant3 es mains des deux tresorers sour 
dhues accompt3 par eux fait3 a lour departirs de lour office 
issint que le3 dit3 citezeins et comunalte quant busoigne seroit 
pour la commune profit et honour de la cite pourroient auer 
certeins recouses as dit3 chamberleyns pour resceuer deux 
qeconque some remaigndra en lour mains pour despendre come 
il mielx semblera as dit3 cite3eins et comunalte a faire pour 
lonor et commune profit de mesme la cite, et mesmes les 
chamberleyns eient surveu del office et gouernance de les 
tresorers al entent qe lej tresorers ne facent aucune edifiment 
ne paiement san3 surveu consent et assent de le3 chaumberleins 
pour le commune profit et outre ceo tielx tresorers de long temps 

that the treasurers of the year preceding after their discharge of such 
ofifice have used to collect and receive the farms rents and other easements 
arising within the said city and due to the said commonalty at the feast 
of S'- Michael without bearing any charge about the common profit of 
the said city of the farms rents and easements aforesaid after the said 
feast of S'- Michael, whereas in the said city before now should be chosen 
2 chamberlains by the advice and assent of all the citizens and commonalty 
of the said city to the intent to receive and keep all the moneys of the 
debts and dues whatsoever remaining in the hands of the 2 treasurers 
upon due accounts by them made at their departure from their office, 
so that the said citizens and commonalty when need shall be for the 
common profit and honour of the city might have certain recourse to 
the said chamberlains to receive of them whatever sum shall remain 
in their hands to spend as it shall seem best for the said citizens and 
commonalty to do for the honour and common profit of the said city, 
and the said chamberlains might have supervision of the office and 
govemance of the treasurers, to the intent that the treasurers might not 
make any building nor payment without supervision consent and assent 
of the chamberlains for the common profit, and furthermore such treasurers 

74 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

passe nount use de faire aucun accompt au dite comunalte de 
lour resceit3 ni de riens remaignaunts en lour mains Issint qe la 
commune tresor par mesme le temps ad este et unqore est 
remaignaunt as mains de diuerse gent^ iadys occupyones du 
dit office de tresorer et dautres sans auailier ou profiter au dite 
Citee quel tresor si ele fuisse mys en bone et certein gouernance 
des dit3 chamberleyns pourroit graundement vailler et easer 
mesme la comunalte saung qe ascun charge par eux seroit porte 
pur la dite cite le quel mesgouernance les dit3 prodeshomes 
sount neccligent3 de correcter et amender dount la greindre 
partie de la comunalte soi sente greue malement. 

5. Item lou en la dite Cite dauncien temps estoit un graunde 
edification fait par la comunalte du dite Cite qest appelle le 
Worsted Seld^ et pur mesme le temps ad este use illoeqs qe null 
foreyns dust apporter ne vendre aucun drap de Worsted de quele 
nature ou assise [ J seroit deins le fraunchise del dite Cite 
forsqe soulement en la dite Seld tanqe ore tarde qe la dit 
marche est destruyt a cause qe le3 dit3 prodeshomes et dit 
people del compaigne del bachelery ount use et unqore usount 

for long time passed have not used to make any account to the said 
commonalty of their receipts nor of anything remaining in their hands 
so that the common treasure for the said time has been and still is 
remaining in the hands of divers people formerly occupants of the said 
office of treasurer and of others v^ithout availing or profiting the said 
city. Which treasure if it were put in good and certain governance of 
the said chamberlains might greatly avail and ease the said commonalty 
without any charge being borne by them for the said city. Which 
misgovernance the said prudeshommes are negligent to correct and 
amend whereby the greater part of the commonalty feels itself sorely 

5. And whereas in the said city of ancient time there was made 
a great building by the commonalty of the said city which is called the 
Worsted Seld and for the same time it has been used there that no 
foreigner might bring nor sell any cloth of Worstead of what nature or 
assize [soever] it should be within the franchise of the said city except 
only in the said Seld until now of late that the market is destroyed 
by reason that the said prudeshommes and the said people of the 
company of the bachelery have used and still use to buy cloth in their 

1 Opposite to the north side 01 the Guildhall and occupying part of Dove Street. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 75 

dacheter tiel drap en lour measons propres & aillours ou lour 
pleast san3 faire la dite achate en le selde auantdit solont lusage 
suisdit parount tielx vendours lessent de venir oue lour draps 
au dit Selde & fount lour vende aillours ou lour pleast ausibien 
privement come ouvertement issint qe lou la dite Comunalte 
soloient annuelement prendre pur louaunce des measons du dite 
selde entour la some de xx//. par an de gent3 illocque vendants 
draps de Worsted a present et long temps passe tout la profit 
de mesmes les measons ne passent la value de xxs. par an 
parount la commune tresor de mesme la Cite est graundement 
empeire3 dount &c. 

6. Item parlou le dit nadgairs Roy Henry par sa chartre 
graunta a le3 citezeins et comunalte suisdit3 un article en la 
fourme qensuit quod predicti maior & successores sui maiores 
eiusdem ciuitatis habeant plenam potestatem et iurisdiccionem 
audiendi corrigendi reformandi et terminandi coram se ipsis en 
le Gildhalle predicta ad sectam cuiuslibet omnes defectus 
oppressiones extorsiones mesprisiones ignorancias negligencias 
et iniurias que per dictos Vicecomites et eorum successores 
Vicecomites dicti Comitatus Norwici fieri seu perpetrari contigerit 
et inde parti se sentient! grauatam dampna iuxta quantitatem 

own houses and elsewhere where it pleases them without making the 
said purchase in the aforesaid Seld according to the usage aforesaid, 
whereby such vendors leave off coming with their cloths to the said 
Seld and make their sale elsewhere where it pleases them as well privily 
as openly, so that whereas the commonalty were wont annually to take 
by letting of the houses of the said Seld about the sum of J^2o a year 
of people who sold there their cloths of Worsted, now and a long time 
past all the profits of the said houses do not pass the value of los. 
a year, whereby the common treasure of the said city is greatly empaired, 
whereby &c. 

6. Also whereas the late King Henry by his charter granted to 
the citizens and commonalty aforesaid an article in the form which 
follows : " That the aforesaid mayor and his successors mayors of the 
said city should have power and jurisdiction of hearing, correcting 
reforming and determining before themselves in the Gildhalle aforesaid 
at the suit of anyone all defaults oppressions extortions misprisions 
ignorances negligences and injuries which by the said Sheriffs and their 
successors Sheriffs of the said County of Norwich should chance to be 
done or perpetrated, and thereupon of deciding and ordaining to the 

76 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

delicti coiisiderandi et ordinandi. Sur quele graunt du dit article 
et de plusiours autres libertes et fraunchises ordinances et usages 
heveg en la dite cite un Recordour estoit eslieu el temps le 
premier mair illocqes pour le gouernance de les matieres qal 
office du mair agardent solon ceo qe reson et loy demandent Et 
leg viscountj au dit temps retinerent deuers eux un sufficient 
persone pour la gouernance de lour courtes et deins brief temps 
apres par gouernance de certeins persones en especial et main- 
tenance des ditj prodeshomes le recordour gouerna et unqore 
fait loffice de mair de ceo qe touche la loy et en mesme la 
maniere il gouerne la court des viscountg a graunde preiudice 
de commune poeple qar quant aucun fait compleint al mair pour 
aucun iniurie luy fait par leg viscountg le compleignant passe 
sang remedie pur ceo qe le Recordour ne voet riens remedier 
deuant le mair encontre son iugement demesne ou autre iniurie 
ou greuance a tort faitg en la court des viscountg dont la dite 
comunalte soi sent malement greue. 

7. Item par lou loffice du mair est de nouelle fait & 
ordeigne deins la dite Cite et le Roi ne duist officer faire 
touchant mesme loffice la le mair ore eslieu encontre le 

party feeling himself aggrieved damages according to the size of the 
offence," upon which grant of the said article and of several other 
liberties and franchises ordinances and usages had in the said city a 
Recorder was elected in the time of the first Mayor there for the govern- 
ance of the matters which pertain to the office of mayor according to that 
which reason and law demand, and the Sheriffs at the same time retained 
with them a sufficient person for the governance of their courts, yet 
within a short time after by governance of certain persons in especial 
and maintenance of the said prudeshommes the Recorder governed and 
still does the duty of Mayor in that which touches the law, and in the 
same manner he governs the court of the sheriffs to the great prejudice 
of the common people, for when anyone makes complaint to the mayor 
for any injury done him by the sheriffs the complaint passes without 
remedy, for that the Recorder will remedy nothing before the mayor 
against his own judgment or other injury or grievance wrongly done 
in the court of the sheriffs whereby the said commonalty feels itself 
sorely aggrieved. 

7. Also whereas the office of Mayor is newly made and ordained 
in the said city and the King ought not to make an officer touching 
the said office, nevertheless the Mayor now chosen against the next 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. jj 

proschein an par maintenance des ditg prodeshomes est en 
propos et volonte pur resceuer un home a porter lespee du dit 
mair par vertu dun patent le dit nadgairs Roy Henry parount 
le3 citegeins et comunalte du dite Cite sount en point destre 
mys a graundre damage encontre commune droite quele chose 
de reason ne duist estre suffre Et ausi le Clerk et leg deux 
Sergauntj par commune assent de la Citee et ordinance ent 
fait duissent estre eslueg par la comunalte a la commune 
assemble et sang la commune assemble ils ne duissent estre 
remueg Et ceo pour euident et notable defaut enuers le mair ou 
enuers la comunalte de quele eleccion doffice la dite greindre 
partie est destourbe encontre droit par leg ditg prodehomes et 
par le bachelerye Dount mesme le greindre partie soi sente 
malement greue. 

XL. The Answer of the Sheriffs and Twenty-four Prud- 
hommes to the Complaints of the Commons. (Case 8, 
Shelf C.J 

I. Ceux sount les respounses de les Viscountes et xxiiij 
prodeshommes del Citee de Norwich dauncien temps ordeigneg 
pour la bon gouernance dicell et dautres sibien ceux qount porte 
lestat^ de mair viscountes et Bailiffs de dite citee come dautres 

year by maintenance of the said prudeshommes is in purpose and will 
to receive a man to carry the sword of the said Mayor by virtue of a 
patent of the said late King Henry, whereby the citizens and commonalty 
of the said city are in point to be put to great damage against the 
common right, which thing of reason ought not to be suffered. And 
also the Clerk and the 2 Sergeants by common assent of the city and 
ordinances made thereon ought to be chosen by the Commonalty at 
the common assembly and without the common assembly they ought 
not to be removed, and this for evident and notable default towards 
the Mayor or towards the commonalty. Ot which election of officer 
the said greater part is disturbed contrary to right by the said 
prudeshommes and by the bachelery. Whereof the said greater part 
feels itself sorely aggrieved. 

I. These are the answers of the Sheriffs and 24 prudeshommes ot 
the City of Norwich of old time ordained for the good governance 
thereof and of others, as well those who have borne the estate ot 

1 This may explain the expression " Men of Estate " used by the Complainants. 

78 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

sufficiarit3 persones del Comunaltee dicell citee touchant3 les articles 
de compleintes de certaines rioteuses persones del Comunaltee de 
Citee auandit enuers les dits Viscountes xxiiij et autres sufficiantj 
persones suisditj faitg et a le treshonourable seignour Sieur 
Thomas Erpyngham seneschal de hostiel nostre soveraigne seignour 
le Roy baille3 oue tiel protestacion qe le3 dit3 ore respoignant3 
puissent a mesmes loures respounces adder et dicell amenuser 
choses et matieres a eux besoignables en ycest partie parissint qils 
ne sclent tout outrement combles par voye de respounce par les 
articles desoub3 escrit3 ou dascun deux par cause de surplusage 
ou noun sufficiance contenus en ycell. 

2. Responsio primi articuH. 

En primes quant a la prime article des dit3 compleignaunt3 
par laquel ils demandent qe tout3 articles libertes et fraunchises 
par les progeiiitours nostre seignour le Roy qore est graunte3 et 
confirme3 a les cite3ein3 ou a la Communalte en dit citee soient 
effectuelment tenue3 et garde3 et obserue3 en tout3 point3 selonc 
le3 purport et effect dicelles forspris un article as cite3eins en dite 
citee par le Roy Richard nadgairs Roy dengleterre graunte3 cest 
assauoir qe les Bailiffs du dite citee pur le temps esteant3 de 

Mayor Sheriffs and Bailiffs of the said city as of other sufficient persons 
of the Commonalty of the said city, touching the articles of complaints 
of certain riotous persons of the Commonalty of the aforesaid city 
against the said Sheriffs 24 and other sufficient persons abovesaid made 
and delivered to the right honourable lord Sir Thomas Erpingham 
Steward of the Household of our sovereign lord the King, with such 
protestation that the said respondents might to their said answers add 
and from them subtract things and matters to them needful in that 
part, so that they might not be entirely cumbered in the way of 
response by the underwritten articles or any of them by reason of 
surplusage or non-sufficiency therein contained. 

2. Reply to the first article. 

In primis as to the first article of the said complainants by which 
they demand that all the articles liberties and franchises by the 
progenitors of our lord the King that now is granted and confirmed 
to the citizens or to the commonalty in the said city be effectually 
held and guarded and observed in all points according to the purport 
and effect thereof, except an article granted to the citizens in the said 
city by the King Richard late King of England, that is to say, that 
the Bailiffs of the said city for the time being, with the assent of 24 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 79 

lassent de xxiiij de lours concitegeins eslug pour la bon gouernance 
du dite citee ou de la greindre partie dicell eussent auctorite et 
poair sufficiant dordeigner couenable remedie accordant a bon foy et 
reason sibien pour la commune profit des citejeins auandit3 come 
autres foialx leges du dit nadgairs Roy a mesme la citee repairant3 
sicome en la dite article qe comence Preterea concessimus prefatis 
ciuibis nostris &c. est contenu3 plus au pleyn la quele article a 
ceo qe les ditj compleignantg pretendent fuist purchace par 
certeins persones en especiall al denomination et ordeignances 
des ditg ore respoignant3 & priuement san3 assent et conusance 
de la comunaltee en dite citee ; 

A ceo diount les dit3 ore respoignant3 qe la ou deuant la 
purchace de mesme larticle les dit3 Bailiffs et xxiiij nauoient mie 
auctorite ne poair pour ordeigner ou faire ascun remedye pour ascuns 
sodeigne3 causes besoignables sibien pour la bon gouernance dicell 
citee come pur conseruacion de3 honeste et honour de mesme 
la citee touchant la sodeigne venue des graundes de Roialme a 
ycell citee par diuerses foit3 repairant3 sinoun qe les dit3 Bailiffs 
[et] xxiiij y furent tout3 presentes parount plusiours meschiefs 
& esclaundres souent auenoient en dite citee pour defaut du hastif 
remedie a ceo par cause del absence ascun soit3 dun deux ou 

of their concitizens chosen for the good governance of the said city or 
of the greater part of them, should have authority and power sufficient 
to ordain convenient remedy accordant to good faith and reason as 
well for the common profit of the aforesaid citizens as of other faithful 
lieges of the said late King repairing to the said city, as in the article 
which commences " Moreover we have granted to our aforesaid 
citizens " is more fully contained, the which article as the said 
complainants assert was procured by certain persons in especial at 
the naming and ordinance of the said present respondents and privately 
without assent and knowledge of the commonalty in the said city ; 

To this the said respondents say that whereas before the procuring 
of the said article the said Bailiffs and 24 had not any authority nor 
power to ordain or make any remedy for any sudden causes of necessity, 
as well for the good governance of the said city as for the preservation 
of the glory and honour of the said city touching the sudden coming 
of the grandees of the Realm, to the said city at divers times repairing, 
unless the said Bailiffs [and] 24 were all there present, whereby many 
mischiefs and slanders often happened to the said city by default of 
speedy remedy thereto by reason of the absence of some, be it one or 

8o Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

trois des dit3 xxiiij noun obstaunt qe !e remaignant dicelles xxiiij 
y furent presentg et de bon volontee et desir de fair lours deuoirs 
pour la bon gouernance profit et honour de mesme la citee Sur 
quoy les plus sufficiant3 persones destate de dite Citee a celle 
temps cestassauoir Bartholomewe Appilgerdi gj. autres de lassent 
des Baillifs & xxiiij auantdits et de la substance de la comunaltee 
de dite Citee veiant3 les meschiefs et disclaundres ensy auenuj et 
semblable3 dilors aueniers a dite Citee par la cause suisdite 
enuoieront Henry Lomynour et Walter Bixton alors lours con- 
cite3eins pour suer a dit nadgairs Roy pour auoir confirmacion 
de lour chartre de fraunchises a eux pardeuant grauntej et pour 
auoir de nouel graunt la suisdite article ; a lentent qe les dit 
Baillifs de lassent des ditg xxiiij ou de la greindre partie des 
ditg xxiiij nient attendantg la presence des autres absentj aueroient 
pouir dordeigner couenable remedye en toutj cases busoignables 
pour profit et honour du dite Citee & escheuer des meschiefs & 
esclaundres desuisditj, la quele article en cest partie ensemblement 
ouesque toutj autres fraunchises et libertees a dite Citee deuant 
celle temps grauntees ouesque les bones custumes et usages en 
la dite citee pardeuant du temps de memoire resonablement eues 

two or three, of the said 24 notwithstanding that the remainder of the 
said 24 were there present and of good will and desire to do their duty 
for the good governance profit and honour of the same city. Where- 
upon the more sufficient persons of estate of the said city at that time 
that is to say Bartholomew Appllyerd and others with the assent of the 
Bailiffs and 24 aforesaid and of the substance of the Commonalty of 
the said city seeing the mischiefs and slanders thus happening and 
likely thenceforward to happen to the said city for the aforesaid cause 
sent Henry Lomynour and Walter Bixton then their concitizens to sue 
to the said late King to have confirmation of their charter of franchises 
to them before granted and to have as a new grant the aforesaid 
article, to the intent that the said Bailiffs with the assent of the said 
24 or of the greater part of the said 24, not awaiting the presence ot 
the others absent, might have power to ordain convenient remedy in 
all cases of necessity for the profit and honour of the said city and to 
escape the mischiefs and slanders aforesaid, which article in that part, 
together with all other franchises and liberties to the said city before 
this time granted, with the good customs and usages in the said city 
before the time of memory reasonably had and used, the said present 

' On this matter see Introd. IV. 14. Assembly Extracts, No. clxxxiir. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich, 8 1 

et uses les dit3 ore respoignant3 a vous suppliount qils estoient 
en loure3 foye et vertue. Suppliant3 outre a vostre tresage 
discrecion qe la ou le tresnoble Roy piere nostre soveraigne 
seignour le Roy qore est par vostre tresgraciouse mediacion de 
bon purpos pour la greindre bien et profit du dite Citee par sa 
chartre graunta as cite3eins et comunaltee du dite citee qils 
eussent dislors en noun [? lieu] de les quatre Bayliffs un 
mair et deux viscount3 et ouesques diuerses autres priuileges 
libertees et fraunchises en ycell chartre contenuz, a cause 
de quel parole — la comunaltee^ — le3 dit3 ore compleignant3 pre- 
tendent chescun persone de le pluis meindre reputation de dite 
Citee dauoir a taunt dauctorite et poair en tout3 les eleccions et 
autres affairs deins mesmes la Citee come auount les pluis 
sufficiant3 persones dicell Citee en tresgraunds trouble et murmure 
dentre les parties auandit3 & en final subuersion et eneruation 
des tout3 les bones custumes et usages illocqes cues et uses 
auant ce3 heures Que please a vostre treshonourable seignourie 
par consideration des mischiefs suisdit3 de mettre vostre tres- 
graciouse aide et socour qe la dit chartre de dit tresnoble Roy 
Henry en cell partie soit correcte et amende et cell parole — la 

respondents beseech you that they stand in their good faith and power. 
Further beseeching your most wise discretion that whereas the most 
noble King, father of our sovereign lord the King that now is, by 
your most gracious mediation, of good purpose for the greater well being 
and profit of the said city by his charter granted to the "citizens and 
commonalty" of the said city that they should have thenceforth in the 
place of the 4 Baihifs a Mayor and 2 Sheriffs and with divers other 
privileges liberties and franchises in that charter contained, by reason 
of which word "the commonalty" the said present complainants allege 
that every person of the smallest reputation in the , said city should 
have as much authority and power in all the elections and other aifairs 
within the same city as have the more sufficient persons of the said city, 
to very great trouble and murmuring between the parties aforesaid and 
to the final subversion and weakening of all the good customs and 
usages hitherto had and used before this time. May it please your 
most honourable lordship by consideration of the above mentioned 
mischiefs to give your most gracious aid and succour that the said 
charter of the said most noble King Henry in that part be corrected 

1 Henry IV.'s Charter was granted to the " Citizens and Commonalty.'' 


82 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Comunaltee— tout outrement ouste dicell chartre ou outrement 
solont vostre tresgraciouse advys par voie de vostre decree et 
agard en celle partie afifaire en resonable forme pour la bon 
gouernance du dit Citee en tennps auenir modere et amende. 

3. Et quant a ycell point en le suisdit prime article des 
ditg ore compleinantg par la quele ils suppoisent la dit article 
grauntee a dit Citee par ie dit nadgairs Roy Richard estre defectyf 
et ceo par cause qil nest mye accordant a un semblable article 
graunte as Mair & Aldermans de Loundres a ceo qe les dit3 ore 
complefnantg pretendent ; 

A ceo diount les dit3 ore respoignant3 par protestacion qils 
ne conusent mye null tiel graunte estre fait al dite Citee de 
Loundres come ils ount declare qe si ensy seroit qe nient countre 
esteaunt la usage du dit Citee de Norwyche et auxint diuerses 
confirmacions de3 diuerses Roys dengleterre progenitours nostre 
dit seignour le Roy qorest cest article en especial solonc le 
desir et volonte des dit3 ore compleignant3 chaungee et 
demesne — solonc un tiel article — a ceo qil dount a dite Citee 
de Loundres en semblable cas grauntee — par autiel reson ensueroit 
qe tout3 autres articles des libertees fraunchises et priuileges a 

and amended and that word " the commonalty " be utterly removed 
from the said charter or otherwise according to your most gracious 
advice, by way of your decree and award in that part, to cause it in 
reasonable form to be moderated and amended for the good governance 
of the said City in time to come. 

3. And as to that point in the above first article of the said 
present complainants by which they allege that the said article granted 
to the said city by the said late King Richard is defective and 
that because it is in no wise accordant with a similar article granted to 
the Mayor and Aldermen of London according as the said present 
complainants allege; 

To that the said present respondents say by protestation that they 
do not at all know any such grant to have been made to the said City 
of London as they have declared but if it should so be that, notwith- 
standing the usage of the said city of Norwich and also divers 
confirmations of the divers Kings of England progenitors of our said 
lord the King that now is, this article in especial should according to 
the desire and will of the said present complainants be changed and 
ordered " according to such an article " " according to what he [has] 
thereon granted to the City of London in like case," by such reason it 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 83 

dite citee de Norwych par les dit3 progenitours nostre seignour 
le Roy grauntees et auxint touts les bons custumes et usages 
en ycelle citee de Norwyche de temps dount memoire ne court 
euez et uses sils ne furent en tout accordants a les libertees 
fraunchises et priuileges a dit citee de Loundres par les suisdits 
progenitours nostre dit seignour le Roy graunteg et les usages et 
custumes en ycell Citee Loundres auant ceg heures uses seroient 
tout outrement repelles reuokes et destruitg. 

4. Et quant a darrein point en le suisdit prime article des 
dit3 ore compleynantj supposantg la dite article du dit nadgairs 
Roy Richard a dite Citee de Norwych grauiitee ensemblement 
ouesqe diuerses autres articles de3 fraunchises et libertees dicell 
Citee estre diffaitg par un treites & accorde fait parentre les 
Citeseins et Comunaltee du dit Citee de Norwych enseale oue 
lour commune seal ; 

A ceo diount les dit3 ore respoignants qils ne sauent nul 
tiel accord ne establisement et si ascun forme de ascun tiel accord 
et establisement a vous soit monstre, ceo fuist fait par les dit3 
ore compleynant3 de lour propre auctorite saun3 assent et voluntee 
des dit3 ore respoignant3, si come mesmes les ore respoignant3 

would follow that all other articles of the liberties franchises and 
privileges granted to the said city of Norwich by the said progenitors of 
our lord the King and also all the good customs and usages in the said 
city of Norwich from the time whereof memory runneth not had and 
used, if they were not altogether accordant to the liberties franchises 
and privileges granted to the said City of London by the aforesaid 
progenitors of our said lord the King and to the usages and customs 
before this time used in the said City of London, should be utterly 
repealed revoked and destroyed. 

4. And as to the last point in the aforesaid first article of the said 
present complainants supposing that the said article of the said late 
King Richard granted to the said City of Norwich together with 
divers other articles of the franchises and liberties of the said City is 
done away with by a treaty and accord made between the Citizens and 
Commonalty of the said City of Norwich sealed with their common 

To this say the said present respondents that they know no such 
accord nor establishment and if any form of any such accord and 
establishment has been shewn to you, that was made by the said 
present complainants of their own authority without assent and will of 
the said present respondents, as the said present respondents are ready 

84 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

sount preste3 a monstrer a vostre treshonoure seignourie par 
sufficiaunt tesmoignaunce desoub3 les sealx de le greindre partie 
des sufficiaunt3 persones de dit Citee de Norwyche. Considerant^ 
treshonoure seignour qe les ditg ore compleignant3 ount cues 
par long temps la garde et la gouernance del commune seal du 
dite Citee par loures graundes force et menace come en le tierce 
et quarte article3 des compleint3 des dit3 ore respoignants enuers 
les auandit3 ore compleignant3 entre autre choses est contenu3 
pluis au pleyn. 

5. Responsio secundi articuli. 

Et quaunt a la prymer poynt del seconde article des dit3 
ore compleignant3 par la quele ils ount declare3 qe le suisdit 
tresnoble Roy Henry graunta as dit3 cite3eins et comunaltee qils 
duissent eslire en la dite citee de Norwi3 un Mair et deux viscountes 
et sur ceo ount pretende3 qe la ou la dite Comunaltee Ian vij""' 
de dit nadgairs Roy Henry auoient eslu3 en lour mair un William 
Appil3erd et qe le3 dit3 ore respoignant3 entour le temps de trois 
semaignes deuant le fyn de dit an vij""' oue fort main et encountre 
la volunte de dite Comunaltee deposerent le dit William de son 
mairalte et pristeront de luy lespee de son office, et auxint par 
la ou la Comunaltee deuant la fyn de dit an vij™* auoient eslu3 

to shew to your right honourable lordship by sufficient witness under 
the seals of the greater part of the substantial persons of the said City 
of Norwich. Considering, right honourable Sir, that the said present 
complainants have had for long time the guard and governance of the 
common seal of the said City by their great force and menace, as in 
the 3"" and 4* articles of the complaints of the said present respondents 
towards the aforesaid present complainants among other things is more 
fully contained. 

5. Reply to the second article. 

And as to the first point of the second article of the said present 
complainants by which they have declared that the said most noble 
King Henry granted to the said citizens and commonalty that they 
should choose in the said city of Norwich a Mayor and 2 Sheriffs, and 
upon that have asserted that whereas the said Commonalty in the 7''' 
year of the said late King Henry had chosen for their Mayor one 
William Appilyerd and the said present respondents about the time 
of 3 weeks before the end of the said 7**' year with strong hand and 
against the will of the said Commonalty deposed the said William from 
his Mayoralty and took from him the sword of his office, and also 
whereas the Commonalty before the end of the said 7* year had 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich, 85 

le dit William pur estre mair illocques pur Ian ensuant qe leg 
ditg ore respoigaantg refusantg celle eleccion de leur auctorite 
demesne & encountre la force et effect del chartre suisdite firent 
un Wauter Danyell mair de mesme la Citee deuant la fyn de 
dit an vij™* saung due eleccion fait en cest partie et mesme lestat 
luy firent continuer par tout Ian proschein ensuant ; 

A ceo suppliont les ditg ore respoignantg a vostre tresgraciouse 
seignourie par advys de nog seignours leg Juges nostre soveraigne 
seignour le Roy a vous assigneg de considerer coment les ditg 
compleignantg par lour suggestion en la dite prymer poynt del 
seconde article ount expressement declareg qe la eleccion de dit 
mair seroit par leg citegeins et comunaltee de dite Citee et 
coment ils ount expressement conu par ycelle prymer poynt qe 
le dit William fuist eslu par la comunalte seulement en lour 
mair sibien al prymer eleccion come a la seconde' nient faisantg 
les citegeins de dite citee a ceo en ascun manere pryueg, par 

chosen the said William to be Mayor there for the year ensuing, that 
the said present respondents refusing that election of their own authority 
and contrary to the force and effect of the aforesaid charter made one 
Walter Danyell Mayor of the said City before the end of the said y"' 
year without due election made in that part and continued the same 
estate to him through the whole year next ensuing ; 

To this the said present respondents beseech your most gracious 
lordship by the advice of our lords the Judges of our sovereign lord 
the King assigned to you to consider how the said complainants by 
their suggestion in the said first point of the second article have 
expressly declared that the election of the said Mayor should be by the 
citizens and commonalty of the said City and how they have expressly 
acknowledged by that first point that the said William was chosen by 
the Commonalty only for their Mayor as well at the first election as at 
the second, the citizens of the said city doing nothing thereat in any 
private manner, by which declaration it plainly appears that the said 

1 It is not clear what 2 elections are here referred to. The Complainants had said 
that they had chosen William Appleyard for Mayor during the 7th year of Henry's reign 
and at the end of the 7th year had chosen him for the ensuing year. The first of these 
elections would have been before Michaelmas 1405, and the second before Michaelmas 
1406. He had previously served from I March 1404 to Michaelmas 1405 and must have 
been elected 3 times, in March 1404, Michaelmas 1404, and Michaelmas 1405, besides the 
disputed election in 1406. The next clause speaks of his sitting continuously for two years, 
i.e. from Michaelmas 1404 to Michaelmas 1406. 

86 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

quele declaration ouertement apiert le dit William noun duement 
estre eslu^ a les deux foils auantdit3 et les dits compieignants 
lour mesmes auoir dishable a qeconqe benefice enioyer par force 
de dite chartre a cause de lour meseus dicelle celle partie. Par 
ount les dit3 ore respoignant3 suppliont a vostre treshonoure 
seignourie par avys de nos seignours le^ Juges suisdit3 destre 
bon mediatour pardeuers nostre seignour le Roy qe le^ dit^ 
compleignantj iamm^s ne soient parties ne priue^ a nulle 
gouernance deins la dite Citee par force del chartre auantdite et 
eii outre considerer qe les ditg ore respoignant3 par rien qe le3 
dit3 compleignant3 ount allegge celle partie nount mye mestier 
a respoundre. 

Et en outre pur vous pleynement enformer de la verite de 
ceste compleynt les dit3 ore respoignant3 a vous monstrent 
comont le dit William fuist deux foit3 eslu3 par la manere 
desuis declare et estint en le dit office continuelment par deux 
ans la ou de temps dount memoire ne court deuant le alternacion 
des nouns et estates des Baillifs de dite Citee en le3 nouns des 
mair et viscountes dicelle Citee estoit use qe nulles persones 
Bailifs dicelle Citee estorroient eti lours dit3 offices continuelment 
sinoun pour un an et qils ne seroient reeslu a mesmes3 les offices 

William was not duly chosen at the two times aforesaid and that the 
said complainants themselves disabled him from enjoying any office 
by force of the said charter by reason of their misuse of it in this 
part. Wherefore the said present respondents beseech your right 
honourable lordship by advice of our lords the Judges aforesaid to be 
our good mediator towards our lord the King that the said complainants 
may never be parties nor privy to any governance within the said City 
by force of the aforesaid charter and further to consider that the said 
present respondents by nothing that the said complainants have 
alleged in this part have any occasion whatever to reply. 

And moreover to inform you fully of the truth of this complaint 
the said present respondents show you how the said William was 
twice chosen in the manner above declared and remained in the 
said office continuously for 2 years whereas from time whereof 
memory runneth not before the alteration of the names and estates 
of the Bailiffs of the said city into the names of the Mayor and 
Sheriffs of the said City it was used that no persons Bailiffs of the said 
City should remain in their said offices continuously except for one 
year and that they should not be re-elected to the same offices during 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. %'j 

durant la terme de quatre ans proscheins ensuants et coment 
auxi le suisdit tresnoble Roy Henry par sa suisdite chartre 
graunta qe les ditg alternacion et mutacion ascuns des libertees 
fraunchises custumes et usages en la dite Citee pardeiiant duement ' 
eue3 et usej en ascune manere ne seroint mye denie3 restreint3 
ne abbreggez, les ditg ore respoignant3 viiiilant3 la eleccion de 
dit mair estre reforme3 solonc la dite auncienne forme de eleccion 
des dit3 Baillifs et de la dite graunte de dit nadgairs Roy Henry 
celle partie eslieront duement solonc la dite auncienne forme le 
dit Wauter Danyell en lestat de mair de mesme la Citee, en 
affirmance de quel eleccion depar le dit William mesme celly 
William prist le dit Wauter par la main et luy amesna deuant 
tout3 les prode3hommes de dite Citee en presence de la Commune 
de dite Citee en disant par ceste3 parols, veie3 cy vostre mair 
pur Ian proschein auenir, et sur ceo seieront ensemble sur le 
Bank, par force de quel _eleccion et dun brief de Dedimus 
potestatem^ directe al Archedeken de Norwich le dit Wauter fuist 
iure3 & prist le charge de dit office bien par trois semaignes 
deuant le temps accustume^ et ceo par cause qe les dit3 ore 
compleignant3 proposeront par diuerses voies dauoir desturbe et 

the term of 4 years next ensuing, and how also the aforesaid most 
noble King Henry by his aforesaid charter graunted that [by] the said 
alteration and change none of the liberties franchises customs and usages 
in the said City theretofore duly had and used should in any manner 
bj denied restrained or abridged, the said present respondents wishing 
the election of the said Mayor to be reformed according to the ancient 
form of election of the said Bailiffs and of the said grant of the said 
late King Henry in this part, chose duly according to the said ancient 
form the said Walter Danyell, to the estate of Mayor of the said City, 
in affirmance of which election on the part of the said William, that 
same William took the said Walter by the hand and brought him before 
all the prudeshommes of the said City in presence of the Commonalty 
of the said City saying by these words, See here your Mayor for the 
year next to come, and upon that they sat together oh the Bench, by 
force of which election and of a writ of Dedimus potestatem directed 
to the Archdeacon of Norwich the said Walter was sworn and took the 
charge of the said office fully 3 weeks before the accustomed time 
and that because the said present complainants proposed by divers 

' A Writ conferring authority to act on behalf of the King. 

2 This shows that the first Mayors were chosen with the Sheriffs at Michaelmas. 

88 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

defaite la dite eleccion ensy duement fait, apres quele charge ensy 
pris par le dit Wauter le dit William par son seruant appelles 
Cretyng enuoia a dit Wauter le suisdit espee de dit office saung 
ceo qils deposeront le dit William ou son espee de luy pristeront 
en autre manere. 

6. Et quant a ceo qe les dit3 compleignantj par la dite 
seconde article pretendent eux estre destourbes de lour frank 
eleccion des Mairs et Viscountes de dite Citee par le3 ditg 
respoignant^ par la maintenance dun congregation de certein 
poeple deins mesme la Citee des Cite3eins et Comunalte de dit 
Citee appelleg la Bachelarie ; 

A ceo diount les dit3 ore respoignant3 qe la dite chartre 
de dit noble nadgairs Roy Henry par la quele le3 dit3 ore 
compleynant3 claymont dauoir lour frank eleccion par colour de 
celle parole — la Comunaltee — contenu3 en la dite chartre entre 
autres choses deins mesme le chartre expressement est contenuz 
qe par la translacion alternacion et mutacion des estates et nouns 
des Bailies en le3 estates et nouns de Mair et Viscountes dicelle 
Citee ascuns des fraunchises libertees custumes et usages deins 
la dite Citee dauncien temps eue3 et uses en ascune manere ne 
seroient restreint3 amenuse3 nabbregge come desuis est dit, sur 

ways to have disturbed and defeated the said election thus duly made, 
after which charge so taken by the said Walter the said William by 
his sergeant named Cretyng sent to the said Walter the aforesaid sword 
of the said office without their deposing the said William or taking 
his sword from him in another manner. 

6i And as to what the said complainants by the said second article 
allege, that they have been disturbed of their free election of the Mayors 
and Sheriffs of the said City by the present respondents through the 
maintenance of an assembly of certain people in the said City, of 
Citizens and Commonalty of the said City called "The Bachelary;" 

To this say the said present respondents that the said charter of 
the said late noble King Henry by which the said present complainants 
claim to have their free election under colour of that word " The Com- 
monalty" contained in the said charter amongst other things in the 
same charter expressly is contained that by the translation alteration 
and mutation of the estates and names of the Bailiffs into the estates 
and names of Mayor and Sheriffs of the said City none of the 
franchises liberties customs and usages in the said City of ancient 
time had and used should in any manner be retained diminished nor 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 89 

quoy les ditj ore respoignant3 a le3 eleccions des ditj Mair et 
Viscount3 ount fait lour deuoir dauoir la eleccion des Mair et 
Viscountg de dite Citee estre fait solonc lancien forme del eleccion 
de les suisditg Bailifs dauncien temps useg come en la pryme 
article des compleyntg des ditg ore respoignatit^ enuers leg 
suisditj ore compleynantj pluys pleynement est conteniij, de 
quele purpos les dit3 ore respoignant3 ount este tout3 dit3 par 
le3 dit3 ore complenant3 destourbe3. 

7. Responsio tertii articuli. 

Et quant a la tierce article des dit3 ore compleignant3 par la 
quele ils pretendent le tresor de dite Citee et auxint les rentes 
et autres profites dicell estre noun duement rescu3 garde3 et 
dispendu3 saun3 due accompte ent rendu3 & ceo par negligence 
de correcion des dit3 ore respoignants, A ceo suppliount mesmes 
les respoignant3 a vostre graciouse siegnourie qe vous please de 
veier et pleinement considerer la quinte de lours compleintes 
touchant cest matier a vous baille3 et sur ceo ordeigner tel voie 
qe chascun quad eu ascun gouernance de dit tresor auant ces 
heures soit duement charge dent respoundre pour son temps et ceo 
pour la commune profit de dite Citee. 

abridged as is above said, whereupon the said present respondents at 
the elections of the Mayor and Sheriffs have done their duty to have 
the election of the Mayor and Sheriffs of the said City made according 
to the ancient form of the election of the aforesaid Bailiffs of ancient 
time used, as in the first article of the complaints of the said present 
respondents towards the said present complainants more fully is contained, 
of which purpose the said present respondents have always by the said 
present complainants been disturbed. 

7. Reply to the third article. 

And as to the third article of the said present complainants by 
which they allege that the treasure of the said City and also the rents 
and other profits thereof are not duly received [and] guarded, and spent 
without due account thereof rendered and that by negligence of correction 
on the part of the said present respondents. To that the same respondents 
beseech your gracious lordship that you would please to view and fully 
consider the fifth article of their complaints touching this matter delivered 
to you and upon that ordain such way that every one who has had 
any governance of the said Treasure before this time be duly charged to 
answer thereof for his time and that for the common profit of the said 

90 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

8. Responsio quarti articuli. 

Et quant a la quartre article des dit5 compleignant3 supposant3 
un gi-aunt a dite Citee appurtenant estre destruit par les dit3 ore 
respoignantg et par la dite compagnie appelle la Bachelarie cest 
assauior de draps de Worsted destre vendu3 en une commune 
maison de dite Citee appelle !e Worstede Selde al tresgraunt 
anientisement del tresor de dite Citee sicome en mesme larticle 
est contenu3 pluis au plein ; 

A ceo diount les dit3 ore respoignant3 qe la profit de dite selde 
sourde par tiel ordinance dauncien temps fait cestassauoir qe 
null Cite3ein de dite Citee achateroit ascun draps de Worstede 
apporte3 a dite Citee par les estraunge3 de paies sinoun en la 
dite Selde ou dehors mesme la Selde de ceux qe auoient lowe3 
el dite Selde ascun chaumbre ou Ceste ou parcell de chaumbre 
ou ceste deins ycell Selde, et issint par la lower des chambres et 
Cestes deins la dite Selde tout la profit dicell Selde prouient le 
quel profit iatarde est moelt anientise et ceo par cause qe les 
gents destate de dite Citee et de la Bacherie de mesme la Citee 
quelx sount marchant3 de tiel merchandise nount mye volunte 
dexercer ascun merchandise deins mesme la Citee mes la greindre 
partie de lux de iour en autre soy purposent de se retreher hors 

8. Reply to the fourth article. 

And as to the fourth article of the said complainants suggesting 
that a grant belonging to the said City has been destroyed by the said 
present respondents and by the said company called the " Bachelary," 
that is to say of Cloths of Worstead to be sold in a common house in 
the said City called the "Worstead Seld " to the very great ruining of 
the Treasure of the said City, as in the same article more fully is 
contained ; 

To that say the present respondents that the profit of the said shed 
arises by such an ordinance of old time made, that is to say that no 
citizen of the said city should buy any Cloths of Worstead brought to 
the said City by strangers out of the country except in the said Seld 
or outside of the said Seld of those who have hired at the said Seld 
any Chamber or Chest or parcel of a Chamber or Chest in the said 
Seld and so by the hire of these chambers and chests in the said Seld all 
the profit of the said Seld issues, which profit now of late is much 
ruined and that because the people of estate of the said City and 
of the Bachery of the said City who are merchants of such merchandise 
have no will to exercise any merchandise in the same City but the 
greater part of them from one day to another purpose to themselves to 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 9 1 

dicell a cause qils sount <lestourbe3 de lours libertees priuileges 
et bones custumes en ycell citee dauncien temps use^ par les 
dit3 ore compleignantj parount les vendours dicell merchandise 
pour defaute dachatours dicell soy retrahent dicell Citee oue lours 
dit3 Worstedes et les vendent aillours en diuerses lieux et marchees 
ou lour semble mieulx profitableg et ceo qe les dit3 ore respoignant3 
cunt achate3 des autielx Worsteds ils les ount achates en la dite 
Selde & de ceux qount chaumbres ou cestes ou parcell de chaumbres 
ou cestes deins ycell Selde solonc le dit auncien ordinance & nemye 

9. Responsio quinti articuli. 

Et quant a la quinte article des dit3 ore compleignant3 
pretendanj;3 le recordour de dite Citee dauoir la gouernance des 
materes touchant ley sibien loffice de Mairaltee come des 
Viscountes de dite Citee par maintenance de dit3 ore respoig- 
nant3 sicome en mesme larticle est contenu3 pluis an plein ; 

A ceo diount les dit3 ore respoignant3 qe par longe temps 
passe les dit3 ore compleignant3 par lours confederacies congrega- 
tions et entreliances ount destourbe3 les dit3 respoignant3 de la 
gouernance de dite Citee accrochant3 a eux mesmes la gouernance 
come mesmes les respoignantj a vous ount declare3 par les 

withdraw themselves outside of it because they are disturbed of their 
liberties privileges and good customs in the said city of ancient 
time used by the said present complainants, whereby the sellers of that 
merchandise by default of buyers of the same withdraw themselves 
from the said City with their said Worsteads and sell them elsewhere 
in divers places and markets where it seems to them most profitable, 
and when the said present respondents have bought such Worsteads 
they have bought them in the said Seld and of those who have 
chambers or chests or parcels of chambers or chests in the said Seld 
according to the said ancient ordinance and not otherwise. 

9. Reply to the fifth article. 

And as to the fifth article of the said present complainants alleging 
that the Recorder of the said City has the governance of the matters 
touching the law as well of the office of Mayoralty as of the Sheriffs 
of the said City by maintenance of the said present respondents as in 
the same article more fully is contained; 

To that say the said present respondents that for a long time past the 
said present complainants by their confederacies assemblies and alliances 
have disturbed the said respondents from the governance of the said 
City usurping to themselves the governance as the same respondents 

92 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

articles de lours compleint3 a vous treshonoure seignour celle 
partie baillej, parount si ascun defaute ou mesgouernance 
touchant lexcercise des ditg offices soit come dit3 compleignant3 
pretendent ceo est en lour defaute demesne & nemye en defaute 
des ditg ore respoignantg come ils ount allegge. 

lO. Responsio sexti articuli. 

Et quant a la sisime article des ditj ore compleignant3 par 
la quele ils pretendent qe le mair ore eslu pour Ian prochein 
auenir par la maintenance des ditg ore respoignantj est en 
purpos de resceiuer un home de porter lespee de mair de dit 
Citee par vertu dun patent de dit tresnoble nadgairs Roy Henry 
encountre la libertee de dite Citee ; 

A ceo diount les ditg ore respoignantj qils ne sauont ascun 
tiel purpos de dit mair ore de nouell eslu^ ne al suyt dascun tiel 
patent ou del rescoit dascun persone parforce dicell ils ne furent 
unques parties ne priue3. 

Et quant a un autre point compris en la dite vj article de 
ceo qun Clerk et deux seriauntes par la Comunaltee a la commune 

have declared to you by the articles of their complaints delivered to you, 
most honoured lord, on that behalf, wherefore if any default or mis- 
governance touching the exercise of the said offices exists as the said 
complainants allege, that is through their own default and by no means 
through the default of the said present respondents as they have 

10. Reply to the sixth article. 

And as to the sixth article of the said present complainants by which 
they allege that the Mayor now chosen for the year next to come by 
the maintenance of the said present respondents is purposing to receive 
a man to carry the Mayor's sword of the said City by virtue of a patent 
of the said late most noble King Henry contrary to the liberty of the 
said City ; 

To that say the said present respondents that they know no such 
purpose of the said Mayor now newly chosen nor were they ever parties 
or privy to the suing for any such patent or the receipt of any person 
by force thereof. 

And as to another point comprised in the said sixth article to the 
effect that a Clerk and 2 Sergeants ought to be chosen for the Com- 

' In accordance with the Ordinance passed in February, 1414, a new Mayor was 
elected on i May, 1414. As the appointment of a sword bearer would be either before or 
when he entered on his office on Trinity Tuesday (this year June Sth), the date of these 
Answers may be fixed about the latter part of May, 1414. 

Selected Records of the City of Not"wich. 93 

assemble de dite Citee deussent estre eslug les quelx officers 
issint eslu3 ne duissent estre remoeves sinoun par commune 
assemble et ceo pour euident et notoire defaute sur eux trouve3 
enuers le mair ou la Comunaltee ; 

A ceo diount les dit3 ore respoignantj qe touchant la eleccion 
des ditg officers y ne fuist unques ascun tiel eleccion come les ditj 
compleignant3 ount suppose mes de tout temps le Mair de dite 
Citee pour le temps esteant ad pri3 a luy autieix persones pour 
luy seruier es dit3 offices come luy semblast meulx sufficiant3 et 
honestes sibien pour luy mesmes come pour la commune profit 
de Citee auantdit. 

monalty at the Common Assembly of the said City, which officers so 
chosen should not be removed except by a Common Assembly and 
that for evident and notorious fault found upon them towards the Mayor 
and Commonalty; 

To that say the said present respondents that touching the election 
of the said officers there was never any such election as the said 
complainants have supposed but from all time the Mayor of the said 
City for the time being has taken to him such persons to serve him in 
the said offices as seemed to him most sufficient and honest as well for 
himself as for the common profit of the aforesaid City. 

XLI. The Composition of 1415.' 

I. In ys name of y^ Trinite fader sone and Holy gost, thre 
persones and on god in Mageste, principal and special avowe" of 
Norwich Cite and of alle y^ Commonaunte In y^ honour of 
qwhom oure Moder chirche is founded and halwed, on y^ day 
of Seint Valentyn martir whan creatures thourgh loue of kynde 

' This Composition was agreed to for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the 
Charter of 5 Henry IV., and was to that end sanctioned (though without acknowledg- 
ment) by the Charter of Henry V. It formed the authoritative basis of municipal 
administration, with Uttle modification, down to 1835. Its careful and, on the whole, 
reasonable adjustment of the details of nearly every department of administration at an 
important epoch, and that by common consent of the whole body of citizens, in one of 
the leading cities of the kingdom, makes it of exceptional value. The consentient parties 
were evidently much guided by the practice of London. It was executed in the form of a 
tripartite Indenture with the seals of the Mayor, the Sheriffs and the Commonalty. Two 
of these Indentures are still preserved. The one here copied is in the best condition. It 
has a portion of the Common Seal remaining in the centre. The other, referred to as B., 
has the Sheriffs' Seal remaining in the 3rd place. 

2 Advocate or Patron. The Cathedral Church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, 

94 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

as it [is] seid chesen her make,' y^ seconde 3er of Kyng Henry 
ye v'e after ye Conquest in y^ tyme of John Biskelee Meir Henry 
Raffeman and Thomas Cok Shreves, be assent of y^ good 
Comonalte of y^ Cite of Norwich, the whiche Cite be dissensions 
trauerses variaunces and discordes uppon diuers articles of longe 
tyme hangynge the Cite hath be diuided dissoyled and in poynt to 
ben distroyed. Now atte holy preyer and mediacion of Seint 
Valentyn in whos day y^ Cite chaasce be loue of her to^ be here 
make pees unite and acord poore and ryche to ben oon in herte 
loue and charite neuermore fro this tyme forth to ben disseuered, 
be helpe and grace of y^ Holy Trinite her special avowe, but 
standynge ful onyd' and acorded in ye articles underwriten uppon 
ye tenure yat folwej) her after that is for to seyn in yis fourme. 
The Meir of ye Cite of Norwich gerly shal be chosen uppon ye 
day of apostles Phillipp and Jacob* in y^ Gyldhalle, to wiche 
eleccion ye Meir & xxiiij''' Concite3eyns of ye same Cite and iclie 
of hem shal come, but he yat hath resonable cause of excusacion, 
uppon peyne of \]s. to ye use of ye Comonalte be ye Comone 
Sergeant to be arered and payed. And also alle tho persones 
for ye Comon counseil for ye ^er chosen un to ye same eleccion 
shullen come and iche of hem shalle come uppon peyne of xija^, 
but he yat hath cause of resonable excusacion. And also alle 
ye Cite3eyns Dwellers wit inne ye same Cite unto ye forseid 
eleccion shul frely come as they arn beholden, and ye doores 
of ye Halle to all Cite3einis iher wollyng entren and comen inne 
shulle ben oopen and not kept ne none from thens forbarred ne 
avoyded but foreyns." And thanne ye Meir and ye xxiiij" shuln 
goon upp to ye benche and up' yat anon after the Recordour of 
ye Cite for ye tyme beande,® or a nother in his stede in his absence 
be" ye Meir or his Lieutenaunt to be assigned, shal declaren ye 
cause of ye comynge unto ye forseid eleccion. After wiche decla- 
racion so maade and pronounced ye Meir and ye xxiiij'' shuln 
passen up in to ye chambr of ye Halle afornseid ther to abyden 

1 Choose their mates. "Make" is O.E. for "mate." (Slrattmann, O.K. Did., 
Halliwell). " Her" is an old form of "their" and "hem" of "them.'' 

^ " Of her" is crossed through. " To " is omitted in B. The sense of the passage 
is obscure. " United. * May I. 

5 The final " ti " is written as though in Latin xx", viginti. The same practice was 
in use in other places, as at Yarmouth where the two municipal bodies were described as 
the xxiiiit' and the xlviiiti or even in English the 24ties and the 48ties (Swinden, History 
of Great Yarmouth, pp. 492, 500). 

^ Non.citizens. ' Upon. ^ Being, ^ By. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 95 

and than the Comone Speker' shal standen up thus seyand to alle 
y^ Commons ther generaly assembled, " Sires and frendes for y« loue 
of god^ Ihu Crist in procedynge of this present eleccion behaue 
30VV and rewle 30W goodly and honestly and leeveth not for loue 
haate ne dreed yat ge chesen and nemelen' two suffisant persones 
for y^ Office of Meir sweche as ben honourable and profitable 
for ye Cite of wiche iche of hem haj) ben Meir or Shreve of y^ 
Cite and of wiche nouther hath ben Meir thre 3er aforn," wiche 
forseid two persones shul be chosen uppon this fourme yat is 
for to seyne yat he y' ha]3 most voys of the poeple in y^ Halle 
shalle be resceyued and accepted for oon of y^ forseid two* and 
he yat hath y^ most voys of y^ poeple in y^^ halle next after shal 
be taken for y« tother of y^ same two. And y<= same two so 
ther chosen her names in a bille" shuln ben entred and writen 
and be y<= Comone Speker and sexse of y^ Comon Counseil" shuln 
be notified to y^ Meir and y^ xxiiijt' beand in the Chambr of y« 
Halle. After wiche notificacion so maad y^ same sexse shuln go 
down in to y^ Halle. And than y« Comone Clerk be ouersight 
of y« Recordour and y^ Comon Speker shalle haue y'= forseid 
bille in kepynge. Unto wiche thre persones y^ Meir aloone in 
propre persone shalle come to apart of y^ same Chambr and 
to hem shal nemele seueraly' and secretly oon of y^ forseid two 
persones whom he wille haue to y<= office of Meir and up y<= 
same fourme iche of y^ nombre of y^ xxiiij'' ther beande unto 
ye forseid thre persones shal comen and shal name seueraly and 
secretly oon of y^ forseid two persones weche of hem he wil 
haue to y<= office of Meir and he of y^ forseid two yat hath most 
voyce be y^ forseyd serche and Scrutinie shal be prefixed and 
admitted in Meir for y^ 3er yan next folwyng, acomptynge y^ 
Meires voice for two voyces 3if trauers falle. And 3if trauers falle 

1 The mouthpiece of the Common Council, or Commons. 

•2 Omitted in B. « Name. 

* Apparently several names might be proposed by acclamation. The one that 
prevailed was first accepted, then the next. The eligible candidates could not have been 

" Any return or written report. Perhaps here used in the sense of "petition " from 
the Commons to the Mayor and 24. 

« The term " Common Council "or " Counsel " in this document plainly denotes the 
60 as distinct from the 24. 

' It would seem that the Mayor and each of the 24 present went separately to each of 
the 3, the Common Clerk, Recorder, and Common Speaker, and that each of the 3 kept a 
record of the votes, 

96 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

yat ony variance happe amonge y^ Comons in y^ Halle uppon y« 
eleccion of two persones, yat it may not clerly be knowen to y* 
Comon Speker be no manere of fourme be hym un to hem for 
to be putte or Shewed wiche two ha]) ye most voyce thanne y« 
common Speker and y^ Common Clerk shuln gon upp to y^ Meir 
and to hym shuln declaren y^ variance of y« poeple in y^ Halle. 
And than the Meir shalle 3ifife to ye Comon Speker in com- 
aundement for to clepe^ to gedder the Ix'' persones for y« 
common counseil of y^ Cite or as manye as ben ther in to an 
hows^ be hemself wiche yere shuln trien y^ forseid variaunce uppe 
y« same fourme as it hath ben and 3et is used in y^ Cite of 
London. And anon after y^ eleccion of y^ Meir y' shal be for 
ye 3er suynge y^ Meir y' J)an is wit y^ Shireves [and] y^ xxiiij'' 
shuln comen doun in to y^ Halle amonge y* Comons and take 
y" dees^ and, sittynge ye Meir/ ye Recordour or another in his 
absence be ye Meir or his Lieutenaunt to be assigned shal declare 
to ye Comonalte yere beande ye name of hym so in Meir new 
chosen. And 3if he so in Meir chosen be present ye Meir shal 
take hym honestly and sette hym by hym uppon his ryght 

2. And also it is acorded y' ye Shreves of ye Cite of 
Norwych iche 3er shuln be chosen in ye day of Nativity of oure 
Lady" uppe this fourme, yat is for to seyne the Meir Shireves 
xxiiijt' and ye Ix'i persones of ye comon counseil shuln comen to 
ye same eleccion uppon ye peyne ther uppon in ye eleccion of 
Maire ordeyned, but he yat hath cause resonable of excusacion. 
And alle other Cite3eyns unto ye same eleccion shullen frely 
comen in the same manere and fourme as it is ordeigned for to 
come to ye eleccion of Maire. And J)an ye Meir Shireves [and] 
ye xxiiij'i shuln gon up in to ye Meires chambr and ther ye Meir 
and ye xxiiij'' of his counseil be ye avis and assent of hem or of 
ye more part shuln chese on Shireve, comptynge ye Meir for two 
voyces 3if trauers falle, swiche as they wiln answer for." And 
than ye Meir Shireves [and] ye xxiiij" shuln gon doun in to ye 
Halle and tdke ye Benche and ther openly it shall be declared 

1 Call. 2 A chamber. 

8 Dais. » The Mayor having taken his seat. ^ September 8th. 

^ The Sheriffs were responsible for the Fee Farm Rent. The 24 were bound to 
make good any default on the part of their Sheriff, and the Commons had to answer for 
theirs. In London the Mayor elected one Sheriff for whom he was answerable, the Council 
electing and answering for the other (Lib. Alb. Lond., I. 44), 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 97 

be ye Recordour or be another in his absence in his stede be the 
Meir or his Lieutenaunt for to be assigned to alle y« Commons 
ther beande of y<^ name of hym so chosen in Shireve be y^ Meir 
and y= xxiiij'' and y^ more part of hem. And uppe that y^ Meir 
shall 3ive in commaundement to y^ Comonaunte for to gon to 
gidder and chesen a Concitegeyn dwellyng wit inne y« Cite in 
to another Shireve swiche on for whom thay wiln answeren for 
ye 3er than nexste suyng. And ]jan y^ Meir Shireves [and] y^ 
xxiiijt' shuln passen uppe in to y^ chambr of y^ Halle and ])an 
ye Commons in y^ Halle shuln duely proceden unto ye eleccion 
of a nother Shireve. And whan ye same Commons so shuln haue 
chosen a Shireve thay shuln make relacion to ye Mair Shreves 
[and] ye xxiiijt' be ye common Speker of ye name of hym be 
ye commons so in Shireve chosen. And gif ony variance falle 
amonge ye poeple and ye Commons uppon ye eleccion of a Shreve 
that ])an yis manere of variaunce shall be tried be ye Ix" persones 
of ye comon counseil as uppon ye variance of ye eleccion of Meir 
is ordeyned. And he yat oones^ is Shireve of ye Cite afornseid 
for that tyme forth neuer shal be chosen to ye same office of 
Shreve in the same Cite. 

3. The eleccion of the xxiiij'' shalle gerly be chosen on y^ 
same foure days yat ye comone counseil shalle be chosen euery 
Warde be hemself uppon this fourme. The Meir shal seyn " Seres 
36 haue be poynt of Chartre" yat 3e shuln 3erly chesen xxiiij'' 
Concitezeyns for the Meires counseil, and notgaynstandynge yat 
it is acorded and assentid and be composicion maade y' ye names 
of ye xxiiij" shuln be nemelid to 30W atte yis day, yat is to seyne 
Sexse Suffisaunt men for Conesford 3if yere ben so manye 
suffisant in ye same Warde to be of ye noumbre of ye xxiiij'i, and 
3if yere be not so manye suffisaunt in ye same Warde it shal be 
lieffiil to ye Warde to chase ye noumbr yat lakkej) ther in other 
Wardes atte large in the Cite off the suffisaunt." And in. this 
same fourme vj for Mancroft Warde vj for Wymer Warde and 
vj for ye Warde over ye Water shuln frely be chosen uppon ye 
iiij dayes whan ye common counseil is chosen as more pleynly 
here after is specified. And J)ise xxiiij thus chosen shul stande 
perpetuel as thei doon in London be ordinance made' except 
cause resonable. And if so falle yt ony cause resonable be 

1 Once. "^ Charter of 5 Henry IV. 

s By letter of R. II., 8 March 1384. By order of E. II., 8 June 1319, the re- 
election of London Aldermen had been prohibited. See Lib. Alb., Land., p. 36. 


98 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

founden in ony of y^ xxiiij'' persones at y' forseid day ])an 
shal yt cause resonable be notified unto y^ Meir of sweche a 
persone to be chaunged and J»an shal y^ Meir charge y' same 
Warde ther [wher] swiche a persone shal be chaunged or in oyer 
manere faillej) or voidet for to go to gidderes & chese anoyer 
suffisant persone in his stede for to be in y= nombr of y' xxiiij''- 
And if so be y' ony trauers falle among y^ poeple of y^ Warde 
for ye cause resonable y' ony of y'^ xxiiij'' persones shulde be 
chaunged so, than it shal be tried be more part y' am at y' day 
yer cleped to geddere for to her y« nominacion and chese for 
hym yat shulde be chaunged wethir it be cause resonable or noon. 
And y' man of y' xxiiij'' be y^ same cause resonable be stille 
and stande charged and discharged in y^ Cite of Norwich be 
wiche cause resonable as y^ xxiiij" in London or ony of hem be 
charged or discharged in y= Cite of London. And 3if it seme to 
y«= Meir whan y^ xxiiij'' ben thus chosen y' ony of hem be not 
suffisant y' J)an shal y^ Meir haue chalange and restreyn as y^ 
Meir of London hath be ordinance in the Cite of London. 

Also it is acorded y' y« poynt of Chartre^ touchynge y<= 
xxiiij'' y' J)ey shal no Jjyng do ne make y' may bynde or charge 
ye Cite wit owte y^ assent of y^ Commonaunte and uppe y' y^ 
article of y'' xxiiij" shal be amended be poynt of Charter after 
ye fourme of ye xxiiij'' in ye Chartr of London. 

Also yer shal no Meyr ne Shreve ne no man of y= xxiiij'' 
ber ne take no clothynge of no lord^ whil he stant in office of 
Meire or shireve or in ye nombr of ye xxiiij'' uppon peyne of 
forfaiture of his fraunchise in so moche y' who so doj) ye contrarie 
he shalle be forbarred of his fredom of ye Cite. And y' yere 
shal no man be chosen to be of y' nombr of ye xxiiij" y' holdej) 
comone Hostrie or comone alehous. 

4. Also it is acorded y' ye eleccion of ye Ix Cite3enis for 
ye comone counseil shul be chosen serly be ye iiij Wardes uppon 
yis fourme. That ye moneday next after passion soneday/ sparyng 

' The Charter of 12 February 1380 had granted powers of legislation to the 24 without 
reference to the "assent of the Commonalty" as expressed in the similar-grant to London. 
The Commons had complained of this. See Introduction V. 4. 

2 This was to keep the City free from outside influence and faction. 

■' The 5th Sunday in Lent. The choice of this season may have been due to the fact 
that the popular Leet Courts were held during Lent and were generally completed about 
this lime. Or it may have been chosen in imitation of London where, however, the 
elections were differently constituted. By ordinance of 2 February 1384, the London 
Aldermen, who had been appointed on S'- Gregory's Day {12 March), were within the 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 99 

oure Lady dayi whan it fallej) and if our Lady day falle on y' 
moneday yan y^ forseid eleccion shal be holden y^ werkday ])an 
next folwyng, and ye soneday next aforn yt monday y^ Meir be 
his officers shal charge hem yt thai shuhi up peyne of forfaiture 
of her office duely warne ye Warde of Conesforth alle ye enfrauii- 
chised men housholders' of ye same Warde to be atte Gyldhalle 
on ye same moneday, but if our Lady day falle yt day, atte viij 
ye Clocke, or elles y« next Werkday than folwyng. And whan 
they ben assembled ye Meir w* oon of ye xxiiij" chosen for ye 
same Warde shal declaren hem or do declaren ye cause of ye 
comynge and ]jan comaunde hem to gon to gidder for to chese 
xij* suffisaunt men of ye same Warde for to be of ye common 
counseil for ye 3er next folwyng, y' is for to seyne in Conesforth* 
vj and in Berstrete vj, and they so chosen ye names of hem forjjwit 
be iiij persones assigned be y<= same hool Warde shal be presented 
up to ye Meir, uppon whiche presentement ye Meir shal jeve 
hem her charge to 5ive good & trewe counseil uppon here witte 
for profit of ye Cite and to be redy for to come to y<= common 
counseil whan thei arn somoned uppon peyne yer uppon or- 
deyned, but he y' ha]j cause resonable of excusacion. Also in 
Mancroft Warde }jey shuln chesen ye next day after, except 
oure Lady if it falle, in y^ manere afornseid xvj men, y' is for to 
seyne vij of Seint Petres of Mancroft and v in Seint Stephenes & 
iiij in seint Gieles. Also in Wymer Warde ye next day ]jan after 
J)ai shuln chesen uppe ye same fourme xx" men for ye common 
counseil, y' is for to seyne in Seint Gregories vij in Seint Andrews 

next 15 days each to assemble his own Ward for the purpose of electing Common 
Councillors for the ensuing year (Lib. Alb., Lond., p. 462.^ 

1 March 25th. 

2 That is, all separate male householders who had been duly admitted as citizens. 
This is plainly equivalent to the Latin description in the Charter of Henry V., "omnes 
cives habitantes et hospicia sua per se tenentes. " In both cases Blomefield misses the 
sense by calling the persons to be summoned by virtue of the Composition (Hist. III. p. 
129) "the freemen and householders" and by the Charter of Henry V. (p. 133) "all 
citizens, inhabitants, and housekeepers." Non-citizens were not qualified to vote. 

3 By the ordinance mentioned above (p. 98, n. 3) the 96 Common Councillors in 
London were to be distributed among the 24 wards in numbers proportioned to the varied 
size of the wards (Lib. Alb., Lond., p. 463). This practice was followed in Norwich with 
one modification. Proportionate numbers were assigned to the 4 great wards as the only 
recognised electoral units. These numbers were to be further apportioned in each ward 
among its subdivisions (the old sub-leets or constabularies) which were now 10 altogether 
and at a later time were reorganised as the 12 Aldermanries, 3 to each ward. 

* That is, the subleet of Conesford, which, with the subleet of Berstrete, formed the 
Leet or Ward of Conesford. 

I oo Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

vij and in Seiiit Georges vj. Also for y^ Warde ouer y^ Water y^ 

next day J)an after in ye same fourme ])ei shuln chesen for y^ 

common counseil xij men, y' is for to seyne vj for Coslanye & vj 

for ffybriggate. And uppon yis same fourme y^ comon counseil 

shal 3erly be chosen as it is afornseid. And thise persones J)us 

chosen for y= Common counseil in Norwich shuln haue peer as 

swiche persones chosen for y<= common counseil in London han 

poer in ye Cite of London. And y^ Meir or his Lieutenant shal 

be beholden for to kepe y^ fourme of y^ forseid eleccion of y^ 

xxiiijt' and of y= persones for y= comon counseil uppon y^ 

forseid Warde dayes be ye vertue of his obth y' he' makej) to y^ 

office of Meirealte affor ye Meir in a Comone semble uppon ye 

fourme of an ooth her after suynge as it is in London. Also alle 

ye ordinances and constitutions y' seme]) to ye Meir and ye xxiiij" 

expedient and necessarie for ye behoffe and ye welfare of ye Cite, 

ye Meir y' is for ye tyme shal declaren or doo declaren be ye 

Recordour or be som other persone in his absence assigned be 

the Meir to ye common counseil uppon wiche declaracion^ if it 

seme to ye Ix^' persones of ye common counseil that ])o matiers 

so |)an unto hem put nedeth lenger avis and deliberacion of 

answer, thei shuln asken it and al y' semej) expedient for ye Cite 

be ye common speker of ye Meir and of his counseil y' J)an yere 

arn or ben sittenge respit and avis of her answer be deliberacion, 

and a bille of ye same materes be ye comaundement of ye Meir 

for to be delyuered to hem into ye next semble to 3iven in her 

answer or in to anoJ)er tyme put in certein as hem semej) ye 

matier chargeable lesse and more, y^ Meir shal be beholden as 

often as ]3ei asken it to graunten hem togedderes for to gon in 

an hows be hemself w' owten ony denyenge and none o])er wit 

hem but ye comone speker and if they wille haue moo^ to hem 

as often as they asken ye Mair shal be beholden to sende for hem 

w' owten ony witsayenge, and in maters y' semeJ) to y<= forseid Ix 

persones for ye comon counseil y' nede]) not gret ne long avis be 

it liefful if ])ei wiln to gon apart be hemself or in to ye floore 

1 The remainder of this clause is rather obscure. It appears to mean that, if the 
Commons desired to have time for dehberation on ordinances proposed by the Mayor and 
24, they might ask for it through the Common Speaker. Then a written bill of the 
matters proposed should be deHvered to them at the next Assembly or some other fixed 
time, and as often as they wished they should be allowed to go apart for deliberation by 

2 More. 

Selected Records of the City of Norivich. loi 

wt here common speker and goodly and spedly witowten gret 
delay to comen inne wit her answer as hem semej) speedful and 
needful to ye purpos. 

5. Also it is accorded y' ye Meir shal haue iurisdiccion Court^ 
and correccion ones in y^ Woke or as often tyme more as seme]? 
hym spedful and needful for to her and determine in his Court 
beforn hymself al manere of extorcions, oppressions, iniuries, 
excesses, ignoraunces, mesprisions and necligences don be ony 
office benethe and y^ causes examine, correcte, redresse and 
refourme and to partie aggreued amendes awarde after y^ quantite 
of ye trespas. And he shal haue in his Court beforn hymself 
all plees of apprenticeg and apprenticialtes of seruantj and her 
seruice be statut of labourie as he yat is chief Justice of ye pees 
in ye Cite, and plees of fyn and raunson of prisoners taken and 
be her felawes uppon her charge her founden not quyt or delyuered,** 
plees of debte, letters of payementj and of all oyer contractg 
mad or don betwen Merchant and merchant or ony persone 
be3onde ye see and alle oyer plees and articles yat fallej? and 
longejj to ye office of Mairalte savyng ye profit to ye Shreves yat 
longej? to hem of ryght And ]>e Meir shal not take no pleyntes 
aforn hym in execucion in his Court wit outen bille of ye partie 
pleyntif conteynenge ye aggreuances of ye compleignant. And ye 
Recordour y' is assigned to the Meir shal be sworn aforn ye 
Meir and his counseil in a Comone semble yat he shal 3eve 
him good and trewe counseil in use and execucion of gouernance 
of comone ryght of ye comone poeple, and ye comone good* shal 
not paie for no necligence ne offence don be ye shireves ne her 
office. And ye Recordeur* shal not be iugge of ye shreves Court 
ne of counseil of no thyng y' may be hynderynge to ye Meires 
court in contrarie of his 00th aboueseid. 

Also it is acorded yat alle plees of rent, lond and tenement^ and 
entrej enrollementg and ye reconisances shuln ben afor ye Meir and 
Shreves in ye Meires Court reseruyng ye profit yereof to ye shreves' 
and ye fees for ye entre of ye enrollementg to ye Meires Clerk. 

' On this Court, see Introduction XI. 7- 

2 The meaning of this sentence may be, that the Mayors might try pleas concerning 
the fine or ransom to be paid by prisoners taken and not delivered (bailed) by their fellows 
upon the charges there found entered against them. " Her charge " only occurs in B. 

3 The common fund or stock. This was not to be used to cover negligence of the 
Sheriffs, because they were agents for the King rather than the Commonalty. 

^ This was one of the complaints of the Commons, No. XXXIX. 6. 

* On the assignment of fees to the Mayor or the Sheriffs, see Introduction XI. 4. 

I02 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Also y' what man yat compleignet hym to y^ Meir or to 
ye shireves for seurte of y^^ pees J^an y^ Meir or y^ shireves 
shuln be beholden for to don hym haue seurte as Lawe wille. 
And yat persone y' so ha]? founden seurte in y^ toon Court 
shal not for y^ same matere fynde no seurte in y^ toj^er and 
yat he whiche be comaundement of y^ Meir for seurte of y^ 
pees or for ony oyer cause is assigned to prison shireves shal not 
wit owten special biddynge of y^ Meir delyueren. 

And as touchyng y^ assay of bred y^ Meir, y^ Shirewes or on 
of ye Shreves wit the Meir shal make y^ assay and y^ defautes so 
founden y" fyn uppe quantite of y^ trespas for to be mad be 
ys Meir and y^ Shreves, y^ fyn of weche defaute so demed^ shal 
tourne to y^ Shreves and he yat is founden defautif twyes y^ fyn 
yerof shal passe to y^ shreves and atte thredde defaute he 
shall haue his punysshement as lawe wille, and if he be 
resceyued to grace for to make fyn for his defaute yat than 
yat fyn shal be mad be y^ Meir and y^ Shireves, thre of the 
xxiiij'i and vj Comoners chosen for y" Comon counseil, weche 
vj persones shuln be chosen be y^ Ix'' persones of y^ comon 
counseil, and y^ fyn be hem so mad shal tourne to y^ comone 
profit. And y^ Meir shal haue serche and correccion of alle o)jer 
vitaille wit inne y^ Cite savynge y^ profit to y^ shreves. 

6. Also it is acorded and be composicion mad yat y^ Meir 
and ye xxiiij'' shuUen be clothed in suyt after her estat aske]?, y' 
is for to seyne y' alle Jjo y' han be Meires of this Cite shuln weren 
her Clokes furred and lyiieJ as ye estat and seesson of y= 
5er aske]? and y*^ xxiiij'' in her estat in clothyng of suyt shul 
be beholden for to go wit ye Meir in her best array on principals 
dayes to Cristchirche^ to assembles and other places wit inne ye 
Cite. And whan ye Meir ryde]? alle y' han be Meires shuln 
ryden in here clokes and ye toyer pieres* in lyuere of suyt, and iche 
man y' ha]? ben Mair shal be beholden to kepe yis ordinance 
uppon peyne of xx^' and iche of ye remelant of ye xxiiij'' uppon 
peyne of cj'., weche peyne shal be rered be ye Meir to ye comone 
profit. And y' no man fro yis tyme for]? be chosen to ye oflfice 
of Meir and Shireve y' is bonde man and y' ye comon shal 
haue sweche knowynge and kepynge of ye comone good and in 
ye same awarde* kept and place as ye commones haue of ye Comon 
good in London. 

1 Adjudged. ''■ The Cathedral Church was commonly so called. 

' The other peers. ^ Guard. B. has "ward." 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 03 

7. Also it is acorded y' you it so be y' at renuwynge of y^ 
Chartere y' yis poynt of xxiiijt' y' her after folowe]? shal be sette 
in ye Ciiartr as it is aboue seid yt ye xxiiij" shul be 3erly nemelid 
and chosen for to don and to ordeyne in charge of y^ Cite as in 
ye same point is specified, notwithstondyng it is accorded and 
assentid y' yei shul staiiden corporat perpetuel, except cause 
resonable, be yis ordinance mad and not be poynt of Chartr up 
yis fourme. Preteria concessimus pro nobis et heredibus nostris 
et hac present! Carta nostra confirmauimus prefatis Ciuibus nostris 
quod si fortassis alique consuetudines in dicta Ciuitate hactenus 
optente et usitate in aliqua sui parte difficiles sine defectiue existant 
sic quod propter aliqua in eadem Ciuitate de novo emergencia 
ubi remedium prius clare non extitit ordinatum emendacione 
indigeant quod tunc Maior Ciuitatis predicte pro tempore existens 
ac xxiiij conciues eiusdem Ciuitatis per Communitatem eiusdem 
singulis annis eligendi potestatem habeant et auctoritatem remedium 
congruum bone fidei et consonum racioni pro communi utilitate 
Ciuium Ciuitatis predicte et aliorum fidelium nostrorum ad eandem 
confluencium de assensu Communitatis^ predicte apponendi ac eciam 
ordinandi et ordinaciones suas huiusmodi execucioni debite 
demandandi quociens et quando opus fuerit [et] eis videbitur 
expedire. Dumtamen ordinaciones ille sint nobis et populo nostro 
utiles ac bone fidei et consone racioni sicut predictum est. 

8. Also in ye Fest of ye Invencion of ye holi Croys^ be ye 
assignement of ye Meir gerly also shal be holden a Comone semble 
in ye vviche ye nevve elyt in Meir in ye day of Philip and Jacob 
next aforn shal nemele two persones to bere ye swerd of ye wiche 
thwo ye semble shal chesen con be ye assent of ye more partie 
yere present. And in ye same semble ye forseid elyt shal nemele 
iiij persones for his two Sergeantj of ye weche ye Comone semble 
or y^ more partie shal chese two for to stande iox\ for ye jer w' 
\q. Meir in office of Sergeantj. 

9. Also it is ordeyned and acorded be ye assent of ye 
Comone assemble y' after ye tyme y' ye xxi.iij'i and ye Ix' 
persones of ye comone counseill be chosen alle tho ordinances 
and constitucions yf han ben used and mad afor yis tyme y' am 
not now conteyned in this acord shul be shewed befor ye Mair 
ye Shreves and ye xxiiij'' and ye Ix" persones of ye common 
counseil and \o y' ben good and profitable shul be kept and \o 

1 The words " de assensu Communitatis " are not in the Charter of 3 Richard II. 
^ May 3rd. 

104 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

y' be not behouely be this composicion shuln be left, and alle 
ojjere poyntg y' ben necessarie to be hadd for y^ welfare of y« 
Cite y' come not now to mynde it is committed to y^ hool 
assemble yere uppon to ordeyne and make remedie be ordinance 
and assent of y^ hool comonalte for profit of alle y"= Cite. 

lo. Also it is ordeigned y' whan y« newe elyt in Meir 
hath ]?us chosen his ofificers forth wit the same day in y« 
assemble y^ hool assemble shal chese y^ Recordour, Belleman 
and Dykkepere/ and Jjan y^ Meir and y^ xxiiij'' shuln chese be 
hemself a Comone Clerk, oon Crouner, two Clauers^ and viij 
Constables.* And ]7an ye Ix'' persones of y« Commone counseil 
shul witinne hemself chese a Common Speker, oon Crouner, two 
Clauers and viij Constables. And on seynt Mathu day* next 
after in assemble assigned be y^ Meir 3erly shuln be chosen for 
y^ 3er folwynge be y^ Meir and y^ xxiiij'' oon Chamberleyn, oon 
Tresorer, two Auditours yat arn not acomptable of y^ Comon 
good and thre Comoners for to be of counseil wit y^ Chamberleyns 
for y^ jer. And y^ Ix'' persones of the comone counseil chosen 
for ye ger shuln witinne hemself for hemself and be hemself 
chesen also oon Chamberleyn, oon Tresorer,* on Comone Sergeant, 
two Auditours weche be not acomptable of y^ comone good" and 
thre Comoners for to be of Counseil wit y^ Chamberleyns of y^ 
Cite, wiche officers so chosen for the 3er shuln be beholden in a 
comone semble after yat her 3er is comen owt assigned be y^ 
Meir betwen Michelmesse and Halghmesse' in weche assemble 
shal be ful declared what good y" Comon hat in debtours and 
redy money and y^ names of y^ debtours, notwitstondynge y' y^ 
same Tresorers shuln stande still charged to y^ comon for y^ 
same debte and debtours and yereof answer to y^ Comon as 
debte be hem due but if y^ forseid Tresorers haue cause resonable 
yereof to be excused. 

' Keeper of the ditches outside the City Walls. 

' Keepers of the Keys of the City Chest. 

' On the number of these Constables, see Introduction VII. 7. 

■* September 21st. The principle of these appointments is that all officers connected 
with the Mayor's office, police administration, &c., were chosen concurrently with the 
Mayor, while those connected with the Sheriff's office and financial administration were 
chosen concurrently with the Sheriffs. 

^ The distinction between a Chamberlain and a Treasurer is not apparent from 
the City Records. See No. XXXIX. 4. 

" Persons who are not themselves accountable to the Community for any obligations. 

' Hallowmas. All Saints Day, November 1st. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 105 

II. Also it is ordeigned y' iche craft in y^ Cite shal frely 
and 3erly chesen of her craft wit in hemself ij Maistres for y^ 3er 
comyng, ye wiche ij maistres shuln be presented be bilie writen 
to ye Meir be men of ye same craft, ye wiche maistres atte a 
certein day yere upon prefixed be ordinance y' is for to seyne 
ye Moneday next after ye Meires rydynge^ shal be charged to 
make good and trewe serche in her craft of al defautes in ye same 
craft uppon ye hooth so taken aforn ye Meir. And alle ye 
notable defautes y' ]jei fynden in her craft tho shuln wel and 
trewly ben presented upp to y^ Meir witowten conceelement, and 
y"= defautes so presented y' Meyr and y^ same maistres presentynge 
\o defautes w' oyer mo sufifisant men of y' same craft y^ defautes 
shal be demed and fyn mad after y^ quantite of y^ trespas, of 
wiche fyn alf shal tourne to y"= shreves and alf to y^ maystres of 
y^ craft.^ And if it be founden y' y'^ maistres conceile onye 
notable defaute Jjan for y^ conceelement y*" maistres shuln be 
punyshed after y= quantite of y'= trespas be avis of y= Meir and 
be moo sufifisant men of y"= same Craft. And if J^er be ony 
Craft y' nede]? for to be serched and wil no serche haue J?an y° 
Meir shal sende for y^ craft and charge hem to chese ij maistreg 
w* in hemself and if ]?ei wil not chese and presente y" names w' 
in viij dayes next folwyng ]jan be it liefiful to y" Meir in defaute 
of yat craft y' so wil none chesen to chese for y^ craft ij of y" 
same craft and to 3eve hem her charge to make good and trewe 
serche in y^ manere afornseid. And \o craftes yat have serche 
in y^ Cite of London shal haue serche in y'' Cite of Norwiche 
and uppon y= fourme yer used in London except \o craftes y' 
am priuilegid be patent of Kynges graunt as be poynt of Chartre. 
And if ony craft be in Norwich y' is not used in London thei 
shul chese serly maistres of her craft and use y= manere and y^ 
fourme as oj^ere craftes don in y* same Cite of Norwich. 

12. Also it is ordeigned y* al foreins y' now holde shoppe 
in y" Cite and haue apprentice3 shul reioyse^ her apprentices and 
shop holde under tribut and amercyement as it ha)j ben afor 
tyme used unto* he may bye hym freman of y' Cite and none 
of hem shal take none apprenti3 ne no seruant to his propre craft 
fro yis tyme forjj til he ben enfraunchised but if it be his owen 

1 The Mayor's "riding" at this time was on Tuesday after Trinity. The Mayor 
elected at Michaelmas 1415 is described in the Court Roll as sitting "from the feast 
of Holy Trinity 3 Henry V. to the same feast 4 Henry V." 

2 B. inserts "same." ' Enjoy (?). * Until. 

io6 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

chyld or his wyffes, owttake^ \o craftes yt may not don her craft 
alone to wiche craft it shal be liefful to taken a seruant unto 
his help. 

13. Also it is ordeigned yt al manere foreins y' now in 
Norwich holde no shoppe shul holde shoppe fro yis tyme for]? 
in yis fourme, J^ei shal holde shoppe ij ger and j day under 
tribut and amercyement, jif Jpei mow not rather byen hem her 
fraunchise''' of y^ Cite, but J^ei shul non apprentice take in no 
manere but on y= forseid fourme, ne J^ai shal no seruant take but 
if he may not werken wit owten a seruant or a felawe, after 
two 3er and a day passed y'= Mayster of his craft shal come 
honestly to hym and 31 fe hym warnynge to be a freman or 
elles sper' in his shop wyndowes. And if he wil not so don 
wit in xiiij dayes y'= maistres of his craft w' an ofificer of y= Meires 
atte comaundement of y' Meir be yis ordinance shal come to 
hym and don hym speren in^ and he so spered in ne non other 
shal not holde his craft wit in hows ne w' owten. 

14. Also it is acorded y' euerych fraunchised man of y'= Cite 
fro yis tyme forj? shal none apprentice take for lesse terme ]?an 
for vij jer and hym for to enroile in y<= Chambr w' in twelmonth 
and oon day befor y" Meir uppe on forfaiture of his fraunchise 
paynge for y^ enrollement to y*^ Chambr iijj. and to y'' Comone 
Clerk vjW. for y^ entre and whan y^ apprentys haj) serued owt 
his 3eres J^an be record of his maister or elles be acquytance or 
be another suffisant Record Jjan y'= apprentys shal be resceyued to 
y'^ fraunchise and his fredom entred payenge to y'' Chambr a 
noble' and to y" Slireves a noble and to y^ Clerk \)d. for his 
entre. And y' alle manere of men now Cite3eyns of y"= Cite 
shal be enrolled of what Craft" y' he be of w' in xij month and 
j day up peyne of forfaiture of his fraunchise payenge ]d. for y« 
entre, and y' alle manere of men y' shul be enfraunchised fro yis 
tyme forth shal be enrolled under a craft and be assent of a 
Craft, yt is for to seyne y'' Maistres of y" same craft y' he shal 
be enrolled of shal come to y^ Chambr and witnesse y' it is her 

^ Except crafts that cannot be done by a single person. 

'^ If they will not rather buy themselves their freedom. 

s Fasten up (Halliwell Spei-e 5) first the window and afterwards, on contumacy, 
the door. 

■■ Cause him to be fastened in. = Half a mark, ds. %d. 

'■ Before this time a newly-admitted citizen was enrolled as such without further 
description unless apparently at the discretion of the Clerk. Henceforward the occupation 
is entered as a rule. The crafts are not separately entered till 1450. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 107 

wille y' lie shulde be mad freman of her Craft payenge to y= 
craft yere he shal be enrolled under y\d. and payenge to y= 
Chambr atte lieste xxj. and more after y^ quantite of his good 
as he may acorde wit y^ Chamberleyn, and vj men shal be 
chosen for to be of counseill wit y^ Chamberleyns in resceyvynge 
of burgeyses, \o men yat thus shul be resceyued shal make gree^ 
wit y\ Shireves as ]jey may acorde and yat alle foreyns burgeyses" 
shuln be contributorie to alle ye Comone charges of y' Cite whan 
it falle)5. Also yat no alien fro now forth comynge in to y^ Cite 
shal not be herberwerd wit non alien ne wit no foreyn. And 
also yat no foreyn shal holde none Hosterie fro yis tyme forth, 
ne none alienne ne none foreyn shall selle no marchaundise be 
retaille savynge smale Haberdassherie under serche and tribut 
in abydynge comynge and goynge of her haberdassh fre shewynge 
and owtynge. And yat no manere of alien shal ber no comon 
office in y'^ Cite. Also Jjat burgeyses yat shul be chosen for 
Knyghtes of y^ Shyre of y<= Cite' shuln be chosen be y^ comon 
semble and y^ persones so chosen her names shul be presented 
and publysshed in pleyn shire wit inne y" Cite to y" Meire 
Shireves and to here counseil ther beande in y" Gyldhalle. 

15. Also it is acorded and ordeigned and be composicion 
stablysshed and confermed that Clothynge and Hodynge of alle 
Gyldes and compaignyes her to forn tyme in y'= Cite of Norwich 
hadde or used, als wel y^ names and y'= priuilegies of y'' same 
Gyldes and compaignyes in hemself as y'= lyuere and clotynge 

^ Agreement. 

'^ This has been taken to mean a class of citizens of Norwich called ' ' foreign or 
non-resident burgesses." But in that case they would be called "foreign citizens." It 
no doubt means strangers who being burgesses of other chartered towns claimed exemption 
from tolls, but were required to contribute to the common charges while resident and 
trading. A "foreigner" was anyone who was not a citizen; an "alien" was a 
stranger from beyond the sea. 

3 There was no distinction in elections to parliament between Burgesses of the City 
and Knights of the Shire of the City. They were popularly called Knights, for their 
allowance was spoken of as "Knights' Meat" (Blomefield, Hist. IV. 98). "In pleyn 
Shire " would be in the County Court of the City which at the time of this Composition the 
Sheriffs still held in the Guildhall as a separate court. In 1430 (Statute 8 Henry VI. C. 7) 
the qualification for the County Parliamentary franchise was made a 40 shilling house. 
Blomefield (III. 142) thinks that this Act at once gave a vote to such householders in the 
city, even if they were not citizens. Such was the case in his time. But so late as 1488 we 
have an election of 2 Members of Parliament by the Assembly (No. CCXXIX. ). The whole 
question is discussed as to this and similar cases in Corbet's Electoral Franchise in County 

io8 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

of y= same Glides and compaignyes, shal fro this tyme forth be 
left and avoyded. And alle Craftes y' wilbe Cladde shal be 
cladde after y"^ fourme of London, And yat same clothynge 
here y*^ name of y" same Craftes and of none other and yat no 
craft shul be cladde under Colour of another Craft of Coillet.' 
And if ony Craft Gylde or compaignie pursue or come in 
contrarie of y= fourme afornseid saue Craftes only wit inne 
hemself wit owten ony coillet of other Craftes y' he be arrested 
as rebell a3eyns y" pees and letter of good acorde in y^ Cite and 
commited to prison, yere to abyden til he ha]? mad fyn and 
raunson for his offence be avis of y'^ Meir and of y" hool semble. 
And y' no man yat suyet be patent to bare ony office in y^ 
Cite y' he yat so suyet shal not here no manere of office in y* 
same Cite in savynge of y'= liberte of y*= Cite y' y^ Kynge ha]? 
graunted be poynt of Chartr and who so doj) shal forfaite his 

i6. Also as touchynge y' Kynges taske^ whan it fallet to be 
gadderet in y^ Cite it is acorded y' yere shal be chosen be y^ 
Comon Assemble for iche of y'= iiij Wardes in y"= Cite iiij men for 
to leye y'^ taske and ij men to gadderet, yat is for to seyne of 
y= Warde of Conesford iiij men for to leye y"= taske in y'= same 
Warde, and \o persones so chosen in y= Semble shul be charged 
befor y'^ Meir y' ]?ei shuln wel and duely leyn every man of y^ 
same Warde after y" quantite of his good. And o])er ij men y^ 
shal be chosen to gadder y" taxe in y^ same Warde shul be 
charget wel and trewly for to gaddere it as it is gove hem writen 
be y" sessours and y' J^ei shul not on her owen heed ne auctorite 
for loue haate ne dreed encressen ne ameinissen a3eyns her charge 
aforseid so y' ]>o iiij persones of iche Warde and ij of y" same 
Warde be y' semble chosen for y" Warde, y' is for to seyne iiij 
for to leyn it and ij for to gadder it, shul duely and trewly don 
her deuoir uppon her charge and y'^ fourme aforseid. In to 
witnesse of all thynge aforseid y° Mair Shreves and the 
Comonalte be y" hool assent of alle y" Cite han in tookne of 
ful acord for to be duely kept do sette to her Comone seel and 
y^ Meir and y= Shreves her sells." Maade atte Norwich on seynt 
Valentyns day y 3er of Knnge Henry afornseid. 

■ Collection or gathering (Fr. aidlHr). Perhaps "associated crafts." 
^ Tax. The Tenths and Fifteenths. 

» The Mayor and Sheriffs are mentioned separately because they had their Seals to 
\vitness with ; the 24 having no Seal of their own are included among the Commonalty. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 09 

XLII. Tripartite Indenture between the Mayor, Sheriffs & 
Aldermen, 1424. 

Confinned & certified by Inspeximus, 8 Henry VI., 1429.1 

Henricus Dei gracia Rex Anglie Francie & Dominus Hibernie 
Omnibus ad quos presentes litere peruenerint salutem. Inspeximus 
quasdam constituciones & restricciones per Maiorem & Aldermannos 
ciuitatis nostre Norwici pro bona & quieta gubernaclone inter eos in 
eadem ciuitate habenda inperpetuum obseruandas ex eorum unanimi 
assensu factos ut dicitur in hec verba. For as meche as the Citee of 
Norwich in diuers parties of the Rewme of Ingelond is heuyly voysed" 
for lak of good and vertuous gouernaunce Wyth Inne the said Citee had, 
to gret dishonour of the Mair Aldermen and good Commons of the same, 
Wherfor the Mair and the Aldermen befornseyd Willing and desiring 
to 3eve good example to the Commouns of the Citee abouenseyd of 
good and quietable gouernaunce among hemself With on assent be thise 
presents triparted up' special grace of the holy Trinyte thei make 
and ordeyn thise constitucyons and restreynts in the forme that folwyth. 
First that the xxiiij Aldermen and yche of hem do her trewe diligence 
in counsell seving to the Mair and in counsell kepyng and in all othir 
good gouernaunce to her power and in the same wyse that thei ben 
entreeted gouerned charged and discharged as beth the Aldermen in 
the Citee of London. Item that the Aldermen of the seyd Citee of 
Norwich befornseyd and yche of hem xal come to the Mair to the 
Gildehalle er to any othir place With Inne the boundes of the sayd 
Citee of Norwich Where the Mair Wyl common* er speken of maters 
necessary for the Citee and the good gouernaunce of the same after 
the discrecion of the Mair Whan thei ben warned be the Mair er any 
of hys officers er be any othir person assigned be the Mair, and that 
he kepe hys owre' that he be warned but if he have swiche a cause as 
the Mair for the time beyng may fullych ben enformed that is resonable 
to ben excused by, and Whiche of hem alle do the contrarye of this to 
paye vjV. for his defaute. And if on discrecion of the mair the maters 
be so necessary that his personalle excusacions left ned must ben had, 
that thanne he to be redy Up forme befornseyd upon swiche payne 
as the Mair be the advys of the xxiiij Aldermen er the more part of hem 
Wyl settyn and assignen. Item that the xxiiij Aldermen and yche of hem 
xal secretly kepe alle counsell and communication of alle maters of charge 
after the seyd discrecion shewyd or meved be the Mair and Aldermen 
With Inne hemself touchyng good gouernaunce fornseyd into Whiche 

1 Enrolled on the Patent Roll for this year. Blomefield, III. 137, incorrectly calls the 
date of confirmation, 8 H. VII., 1492. 

2 Much talked against. ^ Upon. ■* Commune. ^ Hour. 

no Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

tyme the! ben shewyd and declared in a common assemble Whiche xal 
ben ordeyned be the Mair and the xxiiij Aldermen er be the more part 
of hem er in any othir place Where the seyd Mair and Aldermen er the 
more part of hem thynkyth resonable. And what Alderman do the 
contrarye of thise poynts in maters chargables after the seyd discrecion 
to ben kept counsell thanne that Alderman so founden in defaute for 
to ben discharged of the Estate of Alderman and put out of counsell 
be the Mair and the Aldermen er the most part of hem after that tyme 
that hys defaute be proued er Witnessed be the more part of the 
residue of the xxiiij Aldermen. Item that alle the xxiiij Aldermen and 
yche of hem xal Wyth al her myght and konyng supporten the Mair 
for the tyme beyng in comyng to hym and counsell sevyng in Wakyng' 
Wyth hym on principal dayes and in processions er to any lord er lady 
er persone of Wurship into any place Wyth Inne the Citee assigned be 
the Mair, in supportyng counselyng coumfortyng and streyngthyng of 
the Mair and Wurship of the Citee Whanne thei be Warned be the 
Mair er be any of his officers, And whiche of hem do the contrarye of 
this for to payen vj^. for his defaute, and if his presens Wyth outen 
excusacion nedyth to ben had thanne he to be redy up on swyche forme 
and peyne as the Mair be the advys of the xxiiij Aldermen er the more 
part of hem Wyl settyn and assignen. Item that non of the xxiiij Aldermen 
xal take sewte^ ne querell in no maner Wyse a^ens any of his felas 
Aldermen into that tyme that he hath shewyd and declared his compleynt 
and hys aggreuauns to the Mair and to dyuers persons of the Mair's 
counsel Aldermen and if it be founden that any swiche person of the 
xxiiij Aldermen hath mad hys compleynt and hys aggrenauns shewyd 
be dyuers tymes to the Mair and his counsell Aldermen and may no 
remedy han, thanne he xal shewe his maters and his aggreunauns to 
the more part of the xxiiij Aldermen how and in What Wyse he hath 
compleyned hym and is nought remedyed, and after that tyme of his 
compleynt and his aggreuaunts thus shewyd and declared it xal be 
lefful to any swiche persone of the xxiiij Aldermen to take his sewte 
and hys accion Wher that hym likyth, and Whiche of hem do the 
contrarye of this in forme befornseyd and aproued er Witnessed for to 
payen xxj-. for hys defaute. Item that non of the xxiiij Aldermen xal 
be party in no maner mater asens non felawe of hys Alderman in 
louedayng' ne concentyn to be chosen er standen as arbitrour Wyth any 
other singler persone a3ens any of the xxiiij Aldermen but he xal for 
his frend treten alle maner of maters to good pees and reste but in no 
Wyse standen as party asens non of his felaws Aldermen in Arbitracion 
ne in non othir maner of cause What so ever it be Wythoute consent of 
the same persone of the xxiiij Aldermen that he xal be chosen azens 

1 Walking. ^ Suit. "" Day of reconciliation. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 1 1 

but if it be for his ner kyn or ner alliaunce, And whiche of hem do the 
contrarye to this for to payen xxj'. for his defaute. Item that non of 
the xxiiij Aldermen xal reioye supporten ne comforten no maner of 
person Whatsoever he be in spekying of sclandrous Wordes ne in 
no maner of Werkyng agens any of his felaws Aldermen but in alle 
places where that any of hem here any swiche person speken any 
sclaundrous Wordes er noyous er in any Weye be any malice Werkyng 
a3ens any of the fornseyd xxiiij Aldermen, that thanne he xal withseyn 
and restreyn that persone so spekyn or Werkyng so maliciously a3ens 
any of his felaws Aldermen and lettyn^ hym bothe of his Wordes and 
of his Werkyng in al his power and upon his konyng, And furthermore 
3eve warnyng to that same persone of the xxiiij Aldermen so spoken 
of sclaunderously er in Werkyng ymagined a3ens so that he may han 
knowyng of his Enmy that so speketh or in any [way] Werkyth maliciously 
a3ens hym, And whiche of hem do the contrarye to this for to payen 
v]s. y\\]d. for his defaute. Item that non of the xxiiij Aldermen xal fro this 
time forth Werkyn ne non Werkyn be hymself ne be non othir maner of mene 
in his name among the comon puple of the citee steryng^ ne excityng no 
maner of mater to ben chosen to any offys that may touche a gouern- 
aunce of the citee ne for non othir maters touchyng comon goueraunce 
for hymself ne for non othir person but if it be aforn concentyng 
of the Mair for the tyme beyng and the more part of the xxiiij Aldermen 
so that the seyd officer may pesably be chosen Withouten colour of 
mayntenaunce. And whiche of hem .... to payen cs. in support- 
acion of the Walles of the Citee for his defaute. Item that non of 
the xxiiij Aldermen be the othe that he is sworn and charged xal speken 
sclaundrous Wordes of non felawe of his. Alderman, ne Wylem [sic] harm 
ne disese® ne heuynesse bern ne reioye hyndryng los ne disese fallyng 
to any of his felaws Aldermen in dishonour of the citee befornseyd but 
if it so falle that any swiche persone of the xxiiij Aldermen be vicyous 
or diffamed* of untrewthe and Wil nought amende that defaute that he may 
be knowe gilty In that, thanne be it lefful be the ordenaunce to yche 
of the xxiiij Aldermen to enforme the Mair for the tyme beyng and 
the Aldermen er the most part of hem of swiche defaute and 
thanne the Mair and the xxiiij Aldermen er the most part of hem to 
redresse swiche defaute and correctyn as is most best and most 
wurshipful to the Estat of the xxiiij Aldermen. Item that yche 
of the xxiiij Aldermen xal yerly taken his clothyng Usynt and Werynt 
Whiche is ordeyned be the Mair and the Aldermen er the most 
part of hem and trewely payen thertore after the pryce be the Mair 
and the more part of the seyde Aldermen therupon set, And whiche of 

1 Stop. 2 Stirring. 

s Discomfort. " 111 reported. 

1 1 2 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

hem refuse it and Wil nought beye it ressve^ it and were it xal be 
strenghte of this ordenanaunce paye for that defaute that 3ere that he 
refuse it xj. Item what persone of the xxiiij Aldermen be founden 
and proved defectyf and breke any of thise poynts abouenseyd er in any 
wise do contrarye of any of thise maters and Wil nought stonden rewled 
ne gouerned be ordenaunces of the Mair and the xxiiij Aldermen er the 
most part of hem as it is beforn declared that thanne be the assent of 
the Mair and the xxiiij Aldermen er the most part of hem swiche a 
persone of the xxiiij Aldermen doyng contrarye to thise ordenaunces 
be put out of the clothyng and counsell of the xxiiij Aldermen and 
from that tyme forth to ben discharged of the Estat of Aldermen and 
put out of counsell of the Citee. Item that alle the Aldermen and yche of 
hem in tyme comyng With Inne the seyd Citee of Norwich to ben chosen 
and mad upon her creacyon xal beforn the Mair befornseyd and the 
Aldermen for the tyme beynge or the more part of hem make bodyly oth 
up on the holydoom trewly and obediently to halden kepen and obeyen 
Wyth al hys myght and konyng the ordenaunces and artikelys abouen 
Wryten als Wei as the Aldermen of this Citee at this tyme beyng the 
seyde ordenaunces to halden kepen and obeyen her bodyly oth han mad. 
In witnessyng of all thise premyses I Robert Baxter Mair of the said 
Citee of Norwich the seal of the office of Mairalte And we William Grey 
and Perys Brasyer Shirreves of the same Citee the seal of our office of 
Shirrevehod As wel as We Walter Danyel Robert Brasyer Richard Purdaunce 
William Sedeman John Mannyng John Asger Thomas Ingham Thomas 
Cok Robert Asger John Caumbrigge John Gerard William Grey John 
Shotesham Henry Pikyng Henry Jakes Simond Cook William Nyche 
John Wryght John Hogekyns Robert Dunston John Wilboye Richard 
Moneslee and John Coppyng Aldermen of the seyd Citee of Norwich 
our seales We han put to. Mad at Norwich the Wednesday in the feste 
of Seint Nicholas the Bisshop the ^er of the regne of Kyng Henry 
the Sexte after the conquest the thrydde. 

[Inspeximus etiam tenorem cuiusdam sacramenti per Aldermannos 
Ciuitatis predicte in eorum profeccione per prefatos maiorem and 
Aldermannos editi ordinacionibus & restriccionibus predictis annexi in 
hec verba] "Thys here 3e sir mair and alle myn felas Aldermen that 
here ben that I from thys tyme forth as longe as I stonde in degre and 
Estat of Alderman Wyth Inne the Citee of Norwych to 30W sire Mair 
and to 30ur successours Maires of the seyd Citee xal ben obeyent, all 
constitucyons and ordinaunces Wyth here peynes and dependauncis in 
thise present3 endenturis comprehendlt as wel as alle othir ordenaunces 
be 30W and 30ur Aldermen er 30ur successouris er be the more party of 
hem for honour of the Estatis to ben mad and ordeyned Wyth myn 

^ Receive. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 1 3 

body and myn good xal holden and susteyne. And in ony office upon 
me in name of the same Citee to be leyd I xal me gouerne be the 
councel and advys of the Mair and Aldermen of thys same citee for 
the tyme beyng er be the advys of the more partye of hem, so helpe 
me God at the holy doom." 

Inspeximus insuper quasdam ratificacionem approbacionem con- 
cessionem et confirmacionem ordinacionum et restrictionum predictarum 
per Maiorem & Communitatem Ciuitatis predicte similiter factas ut 
dicitur in hec verba : Universis ad quos presens scriptum tripartite 
indentatum peruenerit Nos Robertus Baxter Maior Ciuitatis Norwici 
necnon et tota Communitas eiusdem Ciuitatis salutem in Domino. 
Cum dicta Ciuitas in diuersis partibus et locis regni Anglie ponderose 
vocitatur reclamatur et reputatur ob defectum sane gubernacionis infra 
eandem preantea habitum Ac ea occasione dictus Maior Walterus 
Danyel . . . [all the names as above] . . . Aldermanni Ciuitatis 
predicte quandam formam quiete et sane gubernacionis inter [. . .? 
. . . ?^] pro tempore existentes et successores suos infra eandem 
Ciuitatem decetero in perpetuum tenendam et habendam unanimi 
assensu suo fecerunt et ordinarunt prout in quodam scripto tripartite 
indentato sub sigillis eiusdem Maioris ac Vicecomitum Ciuitatis predicte 
et Aldermannorum predictorum sigillis coram nobis in Communi 
Congregacione nostra apud Guyhaldam dicte Ciuitatis tenta die Veneris 
prox' post festum sancte Lucie Virginis anno regni Regis Henrici sexti 
post conquestum tercio prelato cuius quidem scripti forme et ordinacionis 
datum est apud Norwicum die Mercurii in festo sancti Nicholai Episcopi 
dicto anno tercio plenius continetur, Easdem formam et gubernacionem 
communi assensu nostro corroborandas affectantes, quo citius residuum 
nostre Communitatis predicte exemplum bone gubernacionis decetero 
assumere poterit, Volumus concedimus et consentimus quod predicte 
gubernacio et forma eiusdem necnon scriptum predictum earundem 
forme et ordinacionis sub sigillis Maioris Vicecomitum et Aldermannorum 
predictorum sigillatum Ac omnia et singula in eodem contenta per nos 
prefatum Robertum Baxtere Maiorem ac integram Communitatem 
predictam pro nobis et successoribus nostris per presens scriptum 
nostrum tripartite indentatum ratificentur acceptentur approbentur et 
confirmentur, illaque omnia et singula per hoc presens scriptum nostrum 
ratificamus acceptamus approbamus concedimus et confirmamus, Ita 
quod bene liceat Maiori et Aldermannis Ciuitatis predicte pro tempore 
existentibus et eorum successoribus omnia et singula premissa cum 
omnibus circumstanciis et appendiciis suis observare et ea auctoritate 
premissa iuxta formam et effectum forme et ordinacionis antedict' 
debite execucioni demandare. In cuius rei testimonium cuilibet parti 
huius scripti tripartite indentati sigillum nostrum commune Ciuitatis 

1 There is a hole in the parchment here. 


114 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

predicte fecimus apponi Dat' in communi congregacione nostra predicta 
tenta in dicta Guyhalda die Veneris prox' post festum sancte Lucie 
Virginis et anno supradictis et anno Domini millesimo quadringentesimo 
vicesimo quarto. Nos autem constituciones restricciones sacramentum 
ratificaciones et confirmaciones predictas ac omnia alia in eis contenta 
rata habentes et grata ea pro nobis et heredibus nostris quantum in 
nobis est acceptamus approbamus ac dilectis nobis nunc Maiori 
Aldermannis et Communitati Ciuitatis predicte et eorum successoribus 
confirmamus secundum vim formam et effectum eorundem. In cuius 
rei testimonium has literas nostras fieri fecimus patentes. Teste me 
ipso apud Westmonasterium quintodecimo die Novembris Anno regni 
nostri octavo. 


Pro quadraginta solidis solutis in hanaperio. 

Examinat' per Johannem Thoralbye & Willelmum Prestwyk clericos. 

XLIII. Petition to the Bishop and the Earl of Suffolk to 
intercede with the King for the restoration of the 
Liberties of the City, 1443/4. {Case p c). 

To the wurshypful good and gracious lordis the Bysshop of Norwiche^ 
and the Erle^ of Suffolk. 

Please it 30ur gracious lordshippis to be mean" to our souerain lorde 
the kyng Y 't may lyke hys hygnesse to restore hys desolate Cite of 
Norwyche to al maner libertees and ffraunchyses to l^e same Cite 
be hys Noble progenitours graunted and also by hym confermed wiche 
be now seised in to hys handis. And that in \& seid restitucion mai 
be limited the boundes of \& fraunchyses of ]7e same Cite in Eschuyng 
of divisions and debates that haue fallen for the variaunce of the boundes 
before seid. 

Item for as moche as it is not clerely expressed in noon of y^ 
Charters of y^ seid Cite y' they should haue Court of pipouders,^ 
Werfore that it lyke the kyng to graunt theym a Court of pipouders w' 
all thinges therto longyng lyke as other Citees haue. 

Item for as moche as in y= seyd Cite be fore this haue been but 
iiij wardes'* and euery of these iiij wardes be fore thys by hem self haue 
chosen vj ardirmen and certen commoners for y^ Counsel! of y= toun, 
and the eleccion of y= Mair and oon of y'= shirffes hath be mad by all 

1 Thomas Browne, Bishop from 1436 to 1445. 

^ He was made Marquis 14 September, 1444. This petition must be prior to that 

8 Mediators. 

^ " Dusty Foot Court," a court of summary jurisdiction held in fairs and markets. 

■' Introduction VII. I. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 1 5 

the Citesenys dwellers in y« seid Cite and y= other shirflfe by y= Mair 
and aldyrmen of y= same Cite, y« eleccion wherof bicause of y^ encres 
of gret multitude of people hath caused grete divisyon within y= Cite, 
Wherfore y' it please y= kyng y' within the same Cite may be xxiiij 
wardes and y' euery ward shal chese be hem self an ardyrman and iij 
commoners for y« commone counseill of y= same Cite and y' no 
commone Officere man of lawe ne attourney of y= lawe shal haue ne 
voise of noon of y^ seid Elleccions and y' noo man shal haue voise to 
y^ EUeccion of y« seid Mair and shirffes but y« seyd Mair aldirmen and 
commoners so chosen for y^ seid wardes, and y' euery aldirman may 
haue charge and gouernaunce undere y'= mair to kepe y= goode rule and 
peas wihtin his seid ward and so shal euery ardirmans gouernaunce be 

Item for certeyn misruled people which by* ' noughti men and of 
y'= which ye kyng may haue notice of by his comaundment y' yer may 
be sum wey found by y^ kyng and his noble Counseill y' suche persones 
set not y'= Cite in trouble from hen fforward and y' all y= remenaunt of 
y^ seid Cite may haue a generall pardon of oure souerain lord y^ kyng 
consideryng y'= grete ffyn y' they haue maad to hym.'' 

Item where y= shirreffys of y= sayd Cite for y= libertees and 
ffraunchisees graunted to y* same Cite by fore thys tyme haue be 
charged of grete fee ferme upon there accounpt and oure souerain lord 
y= kyng the ffraunchises and libertees of y= seyd Cite into hys handes 
hath seised erre y' y= sherreffes myght make levee or take any gret 
availP of y= seyd ffraunchises and libertees and sithen y' seyson'' y= seyd 
Cete3enys haue had no libertees ne ffraunchisees so they owe to payn 
no peny^ of y= seyd fee ferme, this notwithstondyng proces is maad in 
y« Esche quer for to rere^ y= hole fee ferme of y^ Citejenys of y= seyd 
Cite. Wherfore y' it please oure souerain lord y^ kyng y' as wele y= 
shirreffes chosyn by y^ seyd Cete as y"= shirreffes there set by y= kyng 
oure souerain lord may accompt by there othys or other wyse as may 
be thought be y= Barons of y= Esche quere resonable and not y= seyd 
Cite3enis of y= seid fee ferme to be charged for theire ffraunchises that 
they haue not. 

Item y' all maner certificattes and examinacions had maad by any 
part of y« seyd Cite ayenst any othere part of y= same Cite whiche be 
exemplied or not exemplied which haue causyd gret diuision whitin y= 
seyd Cite may be had out canselled and had for nought so y' be goddes 

1 Be. 

2 Perhaps in 1443 after the Inquisition at' East Dereham on 23rd September, 1443. 

See Introduction VI. 2, note B. 

8 Advantage. ^ Since that seizure. 

6 So that they ought not to pay any penny. « Raise. 

1 1 6 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

grace from hens forward yer shal no manere of diuision within y^ seyd 

Item memorandum y' >er be not so many bretherhodes. 

XLIV. Submission of the Citizens to the Bishop and the 
Earl of Suffolk. {Case g c, with No. XLIII.) 

Be it knowe to al manere of men that wher as the Cite and holl 
Commonalte of Norwiche now late for defaute of gode gouernaunce of 
the same haue gretly offended a geyns \ie. ryght reuerend fadir in god 
]7e busshop of Norwiche the priour and Couent of the Cathedral! chirche 
of Norwich For )>& wheche offenses touchyng Spiritual! correccion the 
seid Citie and Commonalte as in ther hole corperacion as childer of Jie 
chirche repentante of ther offense submitte them ho!!y to J)e correccion 
of ther seid reuerend fader and lord to performe his iniunccions and 
mandementis in this partye. And as touchyng all other offenses and 
trespases temporal! don be the seid Citie and commonalte to the seid 
reuerend fader and lord or to ]?e seide priour and Couent or to the 
Abbot of seynt Benettes and his Couent. And touchyng a!! other 
variaunces accions and debates hangyng at thwene Jse seid reuerend 
fader abbot and priour, and ]>e seide Citie and commonalte, The seide 
citie and commonalte of ]>e same in hey and lowe submitte them to ]je 
correction wysdome and ordinaunce of fiere seide fader and lorde And 
of ther ryght gracious and good lorde ]>& Erie of Suffolk, redy to take 
obeye performe and observe a!! )>e ordinaunce and reule Y shal! ben 
ordeyned be ther seide reuerend lordes or on of them in these premisses. 
And mekely preyn and besechyn ther seyd gracious lordes to preuyde 
for the tranquillyte and pees at twene ]?e seide chirche and }>e seid Citie, 
And also for ]>& good reule and pees to be kept her after in ]je seide 
Citie as may be thowt to ther lordshepes moste expedient to auoyde 
diuysion and debate now moued at thwene them and }>e seide Citie and 
Commonalte. Tho preuysions and ordinaunces at all tymes thei shull 
accept obeye and obserue, and to ]>& whiche in hie and lowe thei 
submitte them. And )>& seid Citie and Commonalte ordeyne and make 
ther attornes to sue and declare these premisses and all other behofe 
fulnesses and bosoines^ of J^e seide Citie on to ther seid lordes, And What 
Ever ]>& seide lordes or Eyther of them ordeyne or preuyde in this partie 
the seid attornes in the name of J^e seid Commonalte to accept it. And 
^pe seid commonalte bynde them and promytteth to accepte and holde 
ferme and stable all J>e same ordinaunces and preuysion, And in 
Especiall to holde ferme and stable and kepe all such manere of suerte 
as ]>e seide attornes shall make in names of ]?e seide Commonalte in 

1 ' ' Besoins, " needs. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 1 7 

this partie in kepyng of })e same ordinaunce and preuysion. In Witnesse 
wherof to the presentes the Commone seal of >e said Citie is annexed 
and Impressed. 

XLV. Petition to the Marquis of Suffolk to plead for the 
restoration of the liberties of the City,' 1446-7. {Case p d.) 

Please it unto ]>e good grace of ]>e full noble worthy and gracious 
lord Marquys of Suffolk to tendre >e kinges pouere Citee of Norwich 
and to be good and gracious meen unto our souerain lorde ]>e king }iat 
it myght like his most noble grace to restore ]>e Citeseins of >e seid 
Citee to all such libertees priuileges custumes usages and fraunchises as 
were graunted^ to >e Citejeins of >e same Citee by >e full noble and 
gracious Prince Henre >e iiij''' somtyme kyng of England whom God 
assoil graunted and by our souerain lord >at now is confirmed. And 
also to graunte unto ]>e seid Citejeins suche libertees and priuileges as 
by articles suyngly ben expressed Jiat is to sey : 

First J?at ]>e composicion made' betwene J>e seid Citee and ]>e 
Monasterie Jjere m ]>e tyme of dom. William Worstede Priour of ]>e same 
Monasterie stande ferme and stable bitwix >e seid Monasterie and ]>e 
seid Citee for euermore. The which hade shall norissh grete loue and 
cause grete rest and pees herafter to be hade bitwene Ipe Monasterie and 
Citee aforseid. 

Item })at from hensforth none arreste be made withynne J^e seid 
Monasterie by playnte nor by writte by Ipe officers of Tpe seid Citee. 

Item }>at from hensforth none arrest be made by Tpe officers or 
ministres of Ipe seid Citee in Holmestrete Spitellond nor in any other 
place of J)e fraunchise of Tpe priour of ]>e seid Monasterie but onely 
by writte. 

Item ]7at for asmoch as Ipe feeferme of pe seid Citee is so ouer grete 
J'at Ipe Shereves jpere leesen'' Tper in yeerly xUi or more, It myght like our 
seid souerain lord to pardon hem Iperoi in releuyng of ]>e seid pouere 
Citee after her grete losses, and also to graunte J)at all suche patentes 
and grauntes as Burgeys or any other hath in hyndryng of ]>e seid Citee 
may be repeled. 

Item J>at }>ere as now ben in Ipe seid Citee onely iiij. wardes, It 

^ The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th clauses of this Petition are so entirely in favour of the 
Monastic claims that we may suspect in them the hand of Bishop Lyhart, who was Lord 
Suffolk's chaplain and appointed Bishop in 1446 at his request. The citizens may have 
won his good offices by this compromise. See the Draft of Restitution which follows. 
This would place this petition in 1446 or early in 1447. 

2 The words "all such .... graunted " are crossed through and "ye charter" 
is substituted. 

3 In 1429. Zii. Alb. Norw., fol. 45^/. '' Lose. 

ii8 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

myght like your good lordship to diuide >eym into xij wardes and to 
ordeyn >erin xij Aldermen euery of them to be sworn and charged to 
answere for his owne ward, and also >at in euery of >e seid xij wardes 
be Conestables and a Bedill to helpe to kepe pees in euery warde. And 
>at euery of \& seid xij Aldirmen for trespasse done in his warde ayenst 
\q. lawe haue power to commytte the trespassours to prison ]?ere for to 
dwell til satisfaccion be made for his trespas and offence. And also >at 
euery of >e seid xij Aldermen hold his wardemote ones euery yeer 
atte leste and ofter yf nede be, and haue power to chastise mysdoers 
founden in his warde in manere and fourme as it is used in >e Citee 
of London. 

Item jpat in euery of \& seid xij wardes be chosen yeerly w' J^e assent 
of \& Aldirman ]?erof for \& tyme beyng iiij persones of ]?e most discrete 
and notable persones \&x in dwellyng for to be of jje common Semblee 
\€\ to be sworn as \& maner is for J^e wele and profite of j'e seid Citee. 
And Jjat yerely \& xlviij persones so chosen or other discrete persones 
in stede of ]jeym J>at happe to be absent chosen be warned to come to 
]?e Gild Hall, in J>e day of \& dedicacion^ of \& chirch of Jjc Holy 
Trinitee of [Norwich] in jje seid Monasterie to make J'eir election of a 
Mair j^ere for \& yeer folowyng. At which day \& Mair and Aldremen 
for J>e tyme beyng shull name to ]jeym of \% commone semblee ij persones 
J>at han ben Shereues of \& seid Citee before tyme. Of which ij persones 
so named j^e seid xlviij persones or ]pe more part of hem to chose one 
to be Mair J)ere from j^e day of Seint Luke^ jjevaungelist \a.r\. next 
folowyng unto Jje ende of an hole yeer. The same Mair takyng for his 
costes of \q. common good xx//. And he nat to be taken again to be 
mair till iiij yeer after j^e day of his discharge be passed. And \aX yeerly 
on ]7e day of \& Nativitee of our lady' J)e mair of J^e seid Citee chese o^ 
sufficient persone And \€\ of \g. common semblee a nother to ben 
shereves of J^e seid Citee for j^e yeer suyng, begynnyng at J^e day of 
seint Mighell.^ 

Item ]pat^ all J>e glides of \& seid Citee from hensforth be putte doune 
and l^at a Reule herafter he had amonge Craftes, wher of som iij Craftes 
and som ij craftes for scarstes of peple be drawen and ioyned into one 
and som one craft be by it self a craft. And j^at \& men of euery craft 
yerely chese w' in ]peym self ij discrete persones to her wardeyns They 
to take her charge of jje Mair and Aldirmen to reule \€\x craft as ]?ei 

1 24th September. The " Translation of Saint Edward the King " (13 Oct.) had been 
written and crossed through. 

2 1 8th October. "Symond and Jude,'' 28th October, was first written and crossed 

^ 8th September. ^ One. ^ September 29th. 

" "V'= Gilde of Saint George and all other glides," was first written and afterwards 
crossed through. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 1 9 

will answer for her feliship to >e king and his ministres to her power or 
els to warne >e Mair of fie defautes yf it passe her power to corecte it 
as ]3e good usage and custume of London is. 

XLVI. Unexecuted Draft of Restitution, 1447.1 {Casegd.) 
[Abstract of Latin Original.'] 

Recital that after judgment of Sir John Fortescu at Thetford 
against the Mayor Sheriffs and Aldermen of Norwich for default of 
good government, the liberties of the City had been seized into the 
King's hands in accordance with a Statute of King E. III. and still so 
remained and now the Citizens and Commonalty had humbly supplicated 
for their restitution ; 

The King moved by the intercession of Walter Bishop of Norwich 
and William de la Pole Marquis and Earl of Suffolk restores to the 
Citizens and Commonalty and the heirs and successors of the said 
Citizens all the liberties &c. as freely and fully as they had enjoyed 
them before the seizure without hindrance. 

Also the King grants to the Citizens all free farms and other profits 
formerly granted to them, on render of the same sum and no more as 
they have hitherto rendered. 

Then follows an Inspeximus of the Charter of Henry V. (not 
recited), with the King's confirmation to the " now Citizens and 
Commonalty" except in the number of Wards Aldermen and Common 

Non-user shall not bar their privileges except on these points. 
Although King Henry V. had granted to the Citizens to elect 24 
Aldermen and 60 Common Councillors, and to all resident Citizens, 
who wished to be present, to elect a Mayor on May ist. 

The King at the special supplication of the said Citizens and 
Commonalty and with their assent and consent grants to the said 
Citizens for the future that they shall in place of t^jeir 4 Wards have 12, 
Consford, Berstrete, Nedham, Estmancroft, Westmancroft, Newport, 
Westwyk, St. Gregory, St. Andrew, St. George, Coslanye, and Fibriggate, 
and 12 Aldermen to be placed in the 12 Wards. 

Also a Recorder to be chosen by the Mayor Aldermen and Common 
Councillors who by word of mouth or otherwise shall record the pleas 
and judgments held in the King's courts before the Mayor alone or the 
Mayor and Aldermen. 

Also 48 Citizens for a Common Council and 24 Constables, 2 in 
each Ward. 

For the election of Mayor, the Mayor shall summon the 12 

' See Introduction VII. ^. 

1 20 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Aldermen, 48 Councillors and the Constables of the Wards to meet at 
the Guildhall. The Aldermen shall nominate z persons who have 
already served as Mayor or Sheriff (but not Mayor for 3 years past) 
and one shall be chosen for Mayor by the Councillors and Constables. 
In case of equality the Mayor's vote is to count for 2. The Mayor to 
hold office from Michaelmas for i year. 

For the election of Sheriffs, the same body shall meet on the Feast 
of the Nativity of the Virgin. The Mayor and Aldermen shall choose 
I and the Councillors and Constables the other, to serve from Michaelmas 
for I year. 

For the election of Councillors and Constables, each Alderman shall 
on Monday after the Epiphany summon all the citizens of his ward 
who are resident householders by his bedell to an appointed place, when 
they shall choose separately for each ward 4 resident citizens for a 
Common Council and 2 resident citizens for Constables. The names of 
the elected Councillors and Constables to be delivered to the Alderman 
the same day and by him to the Mayor within 8 days. The 48 citizens 
after being sworn by the Mayor shall be for a Common Council of the 
City with full authority to finally order everything touching the common 
profit of the city such as that enjoyed by the Common Councillors of 
the City of London. 

If a Mayor dies his predecessor shall act for the remainder of the 

Every Alderman duly elected shall hold his estate and degree for 
life except for reasonable cause. If an Alderman die or is removed the 
Mayor within one month shall summon the citizens of that ward to the 
Guildhall. They shall nominate 2 persons of whom the Mayor and 
Aldermen shall choose one. The Aldermen shall be charged, removed 
and discharged for such causes, &c. as the 24 Aldermen of London. In 
case of an unqualified person being nominated the Mayor Aldermen 
and Councillors may choose another as in London. An Alderman to be 
discharged of his office may be discharged by the Mayor and a majority 
of the Aldermen. 

Every Alderman shall have a Bedell to execute his orders, punish 
evil doers and commit them to prison as the Aldermen of London 

Every Alderman shall once a year hold a court called a Wardmote 
in his ward. The fines and profits to be collected by the Bedell of the 
ward and given (without account rendered to the King) to the use of the 
Commonalty of the City. 

The citizens and craftsmen of every mistery and craft, with license 
of the Mayor, may wear a livery for the honour of the city but not any 
other society's livery on pain of making fine with the Mayor and 
Aldermen. They may yearly choose for each mistery or craft i, 2 or 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 2 1 

4 masters according to the number of its members. The Mayor and 
Aldermen may correct the masters or remove craftsmen from the 

The Mayor Aldermen and Citizens may hold a market every day 
and, through the Sheriffs, a Piepowder Court. Cases of doubt may be 
talcen to the Guildhall before the Mayor and 2 Aldermen who may 
determine them or send them back to the Sheriff to be tried in his 
court, as is done in London. 

If any error in records or rendering of judgment in the Sheriffs 
court be complained of, the Mayor, Recorder and 2 Aldermen may 
enquire and correct such errors on a King's writ as is done in London. 

The Mayor and Citizens may have assay and assize of bread, wine, 
beer, measures, flesh, fish and all things belonging to the office of the 
King's Clerk of the Market of his household without any interference; 
may punish all offenders and take all profits for reparation of bridges, 
walls, &c. 

And also scrutiny of all nets, weirs, fishing, &c., in the waters. 

In all jurisdiction connected with the Justiciary of the Peace the 
Citi3ens shall have all their liberties as freely and fully as they ever 
held them. 

And further, the Mayor, Recorder, and all Aldermen who have 
served the office of Mayor shall be wardens of the Peace to carry out 
the statutes of Winchester, Northampton, Westminster and Cambridge, 
&c. [as in Commission of the Peace]. 

The Mayor Recorder and at least 2 Aldermen besides (the Mayor 
and Recorder to be of the Quorum) shall have power to enquire by oath 
&c., when it seems fit to them concerning all felonies &c. . . . and 
to hear and determine . . . and to punish offenders. 

The Citizens shall have all fines, issues &c. from all matters &c. 
adjudged before the Mayor, Recorder and Aldermen with the assessments 
and levying of the same, treasure trove in the City or suburbs, waifs 
and strays &c. 

And also all that in such cases may be adjudged to the King. 

And the Citizens shall have all common soils, purprestures' and 
profit in all wastes, commons, streets, ways, with right to put themselves 
in possession as they will and have due allowances thereof in all our 

If Writs of Certiorari &c. are addressed to the Mayor Recorder or 
Sheriffs they need not return the actual records &c. but the tenor or 

The Citizens may choose all their sub-Sheriffs, Clerks and Sheriffs' 
bailiffs for whom they are willing to answer. 

1 Encroachments allowed to continue on payment of a quit-rent. 

122 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

These concessions are not intended to prejudice the Sheriffs who shall 
have all their rights as hitherto. 

The Mayor Recorder and Aldermen are not to suffer from non-user 
of any liberty. 

XLVII. Oaths of Officials in the Fifteenth Century,' 

{Liber Albus Norw., fol. 182 d). 

1. The charge of them yat ben chosen for y= Comoun Counsell. 

Ye xal swere y' y= xal be trewe to oure soureingne Lord y^ Kyng 
and his eyrys and redily come at y^ oure whan y^ be somond to y'= 
comoun counsel of y' Citee, but y*' ben resonably excused, upon peyn 
therupon ordeyned, and good and trewe counsel y'= xal yeve after your 
wyt and conyng and for nomannys favour y^ xal not mayntene non 
singler profite ayens y'= comoun profite of y= Citee. And after y= ben 
comen to y^ comoun counsel thens y^ xal not goo w' oute a resonable 
cause, er ellys y'= Maires licence, till y^ Mair and his brethren goon. 
And yat is seyd in y= comoun counsel and owght for to be kept counsell 
y^ xal it counsell kepe and non yer of discoure.* So God you help 
and alle his saintes. 

2. The Othe off the Comon Speker. 

Ye shall swere y' you indifferently w'out eny affeccon ffavour or 
corrupcion shall execute your office off comon speker as well in all 
assembles as in the eleccion of the Mayor or Shireff ffor the yeere 
next ensyng [sic] accordyng to your knowlege witte and connyng and 
by non couyn male engyn'' or collusion shall make nomaner off mean 
to the comons in the tyme of the eleccion whereby the ffrank and ffree 
eleccion of the comones there beyng presente may in any wise be violat 
altered or chaunged contrary to the true ordinaunce of the seid eleccion 
So helpe you God &c. 

3. The Comoun Clerk. 

3e schall swere that 3e schall in the office of Comown Clerk wyth 
in the Cite of Norwich and the liberie of it as wele as in office of Clerk 
of the pees and escheterie wyth in the Cite euenly and treuly to 30ur 
power wyth owtyn parcialte 30W be haue and gouerne, trewe warantis 
entreis and recordes up 30ure cwnnyng make, the profight of the King 
and of the Meire for the tyme beynge as wele as of the Commonalte 
of \& seyd Citee wayte and endende* and here councell kepe up 30ure 
myght. So help 30W God atte the Holy dome. 

' For comments on these oaths see Appendix to Section VII. of Introduction. They 
are here arranged in an order corresponding with the notices in that appendix. 
2 Discover nothing thereof, 
^ Evil design, Fr. mal engin. ■* ? Watch over and be intent upon. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 123 

4. The Maires charge of y^ Mairalte.' 

36 shall swere that well and lawefully to 30ur cunnyng and powere 
36 shall susteyn executen and mayntene \& lawes libertes fraunchises 
gode customes and ordenaunces of \e. Cite of Norwich and ]?e pes and 
tranquillite in ]j6 same Cite as moche as to 30W6 be vertu of 3oure 
office apperteneth And Jjat 36 shall make devve serche of all vytayll 
and of all oj^er J>inges that longen to 30ur office as often tymes as it is 
nedefull to be don be 30ur discrecion or whan 36 be required for \q. 
Common profite of this Citie and ]je Cuntre. And that 36 shall don 
dewe and open and discrete correction and redresse uppon Jie defautes 
founden after Jie forme of Jiordenaunces J^eruppon made.^ Ant Y 3^ 
shall do justice and egall right as well to \q pore as to \g. riche. So God 
30we helpe and all seyntes. 

5. The Meires Charge for y^ Eschetrie. 

36 xall swere that wele and truly 36 schall serue owre lord the 
Kyng in the office of Meiraltie in the Cite of Norwych. And the same 
Cite 36 xall kepe sewyrly and saufly to the profight of owre lord the 
Kyng and of his eyres kynges of Ingelond and the profite of J)e Kyng 
3e schall doo in alle thinges that longith for 30W for to doo. And 
alle the rightis of the Kyng as moche as longyth to the Coroun in the 
same Citee truly 36 schall kepe ne 36 schall not assentyn to discrese ne 
to non concelement of rightis of Fraunchise of the Kyng. And be that 
qwerof 36 may knowen the rightis of the Kyng or of the Coroun be it 
in londys or in rentes or ell in Fraunchises or in Sewtes conceled or 
restreyned 30ur peyne 36 schall puttyn to \sX to repelyn. And 3if 36 
mowe nought don 36 schull telle owre lord the Kyng or ellys to summe 
of his councell of qwich 36 arn certeyn that schull telle the Kyng. 
And that truly and rightfully 30 schall trete the pople of yowre bailie. 
And do right to iche man as well to a straungere and to ]?e pouere" as 
wele as to the riche in as myche as longith to 30W for to done. And 
that for heynesse ne for richesse ne for pouer nesse ne for favour ne for 
hanere* wrong 36 schall doon to no man ne no mannys right disturblyn 
ne no thing taken qwerfore owr lord the Kyng schall lese or be qwich 
right schuld be destroied And in alle thing Jjat longith to the Meyre of 
this same Cite to be doon as well in gouernaunce of vetaile as in all 
othere thingis well and truly 36 schall haue 30W. So God 30W helpe 
atte the Holy dome. 

6. The charge for the Maires sergeant3. 

36 shall swere that 36 shall weel and truly seruen the Mayre in the 

1 Before this oath is written " Remembre. The othe of the Supremytie ffirst to be 
goven A° XXXV. domini Regis Henrici viij capite primo." The same notice is added 
before the oath of the Sheriffs. 

2 Added in margin "and to be made." ° Poor. ■• ?hate. 

1 24 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Office of sergeaunt and truly diligentely and besily attenden to hym at 
all tymes for his wurshipp and wurshipp of the Cite 36 shall also 
ouersen the marketts of corn fflessh fyssh pulterie and oJ>er vitayll and 
alle maner of forestalleres of any maner vitayll fresshly founden 36 shal 
arresten and brynge hym to prison or atte leste enforme the Mayre of 
suych forstalleres, 3e shall also suffren no bakeres to bye whete be forn 
X of the belle ne cook bye no fressh fyssh ne wylde foule be forn ix^ of 
\& belle as the ordenaunce of this Cite is. And all other thynges 
wurshipfuU to \& Mayre and profitable to \& Cite 3e shall don with all 
30ure cunnyng and powere wi]? oute fauour or rygour, 36 shall also do 
truly 30ur offys in takyng of bred whan 36 be sent J^erfore with oute 
fauour or informacion or warnyng to the bakeres in any wise whan 
\€\ shall be serched and Y 36 shall due somounys make unto ]je 
personys chosen for Common Counsell and to any officer^ of the Cite 
or to any ojjer persones whan 3e be assigned Jjerto and trewe certificat 
to \& Mayre or his depute jjerof returne and ]5e counsell of Jje Maire 
Aldermen and of \& assemble 36 shall kepe and well and truly all Jiese 
articles before reherced and all o]?er J^inges apertenaunt to 30ure office 
3e shall duely and truly obseruen and perfourmen. So help 30we God 
and all seyntes. 

7. The Constables Charge. 

The Meyre of the Cite Chargeth 30U on the Kyngis behalue' yat 
je schall sekirly^ kepen the pees wyth Inne 30ure ward wher y= be 
constabill. And yat y'' shall not suffi-en wyth Inne 30ure for seyd 
warde any Congregacyonis ne Insurreccyonis be day ne be nyght 
wythowtyn specyall byddyng of M. Meyre qwich that may turnen in 
deregacyon of the Kyngis estate And of his Regalte. And 3if ony 
man presume hymself to doon the contrarie of this Charge yat he be 
arrested with alle 30ure power as a rebelle a 3ens the Kyng and \& 
good pees of the Cite And bringyn hym to the Kyngis preson. And 3if 
36 be nought myghti to maken this areste 36 xull Comyn and Compleyne 
30W to the Meyre for to strenthe 30W a3ens alle suche rebellis wyth Inne 
the Citee. And J^at 3e don deuly this Charge up on peyne of forfeture 
of 30ur goodis and 30ure bodies to preson to be atte Kyngis will.^ And 
that 3e arresten alle maner of nyghtwalkers baratours and mysdoers 
common tenyse pleyers and hasardowris^ ayens the Kyngis pees as welle 
be vertu of 30ur office as be sewte of partye.' And \sX 36 3eve men 

1 "viij " was written and crossed through. 

2 " Office," the final "r " is an addition, 
s " Of Ingelonde " crossed through. 

^ Crossed through and " unto your power" substituted. 
^ All this sentence is crossed out. 

Added in later hand, " bowlers, valyaunt and myghty beggers." 
' Added later, "and bringe them to prison or elles giff Master Meyre knowledge 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 125 

charge for to kepen wach in yowre warde^ in alle the haste 3e may at 
this tyme and contenwe^ as it hath ben accustumed up on peyne theie 
up on ordeyned in the Citee. And that y= schall execute all commande- 
mentes and preceptes geven you by M. Maier as well for the peace as 
for eny other thing.* And that 36 schall deuly and truly perfourme all 
these poyntis afornseyd 36 schall doo 30ure deuer. So helpe 30U God 
atte the holy dome. 

8. Sacramentum Recordatoris. 

Y= shall swere y' y= shall in Jjc Office of Recorder with Inne \& 
Cite of Norwich and ]?e liberte of it as well as in Jjoffice of Justice [of] 
pes wi]5 in y= same Cite lawe fully to your powere behaue you and good 
trewe and holsom counsell yeve to J^e Maire and Aldermen of \e. Cite 
in use and execucion of gouernaunce of comoun right as well in Offices 
of Mairalte Justice of Pes and Eschetrie acordyng to J^e lawes of \e. lond 
and lawes and goode customes of Jie Cite after your witte and cunnyng 
wijj oute favour or affection of any persone and ]7is y^ shall on your 
behalue duely kepe. So help you God and his seyntes. 

9. The Schreues Charge. 

36 schall swere that 36 schall well and truly seruyn owre lord the 
Kyng in the offys of Schrevehood in the Cite and the Counte of 
Norwych suburbes hamelettes procintis and Circuites of the same Cite 
and Counte And truly buxumly and rightfully 36 xall trete the peple of 
the same Cite and Counte and alle other peple in that that touchyth 
30ure office. And 3e schall do right as wele to the pore as to the riche 
and ben indeferrent be twix partye and partye in all that longith to 
30ur office. And 36 schall for promysse ne for favour ne hate don ony 
thing to ony man that myght ony right disturble or letten. And 3e 
schall truly seruyn the wretys of owre souereign lord the Kyng up 30ur 
wyt and power and the Comaundementis preceptis and warantys of the 
Meyre of the Citee and in that j^at touchyth 30ure office 36 shall seruyn 
and obeyen. And alle pleyntes that the Meyre sendith fore 3e schall 
delyuer to hym and non with holden. And alle maner of Ryghtis of the 
Kyng and ]pe Cite qwych ben appurtenaunt to 30ure office and alle 
othere thingis dew to the Kyng and the Cite^ 36 schall susteyne kepin 
and Mayntene as it hath ben susteyned kepid and maintenyd be forn 
})is in old tyme. And non of hem lesyn be 30wre defautys as 3e will 
ansuere therfore to the Kyng and qwyte the Comoun a 3ens the Kyng. 

1 Added, "and to sette out water." 

2 Here was written and crossed out "At the leste to lamesse" (i August). The 
charge would be given by the Mayor to the Constables newly elected on 3 May. 
This would leave about three months to Lammas Day, when perhaps new watchmen 
were appointed. 

s This sentence is added at the end in an early hand. 

■• Added later, " and accordyng to y^ ordenaunce yeruppon made." 

126 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

And no man lete owt of preson qwych is sent in to preson be the 
Meyre wyth owtyn assent or specyall comaundement of the Meyre. And 
36 schall well and truly the lawys Lybertes and good Custumes and 
ordenaunces of the seyd Cite kepen and Susteynen in as moche as to 
30W longyth. And 36 schall truly doon or make to be don Jugementis 
and execucyon of the Verdytes of 30ur Court w'^ owt sparing of ony 
man. And Y 3^ schall holden 30wr schreves turnes opynly in the 
Gyldehalle as the Schreve of Norffolk and othere Schreves doon in here 
Countees wyth Inne the reme of Inglond up the fourme of the statute. 
And that 36 schall no men putten up on the enquestis that xall be taken 
for the Schrevis turn but goode men and sufficient Y ben men of good 
name and good fame. And that 36 schall make proclamacyon for 30ure 
turn in diuers placis wyth Inne the Wardis owt of qwom the enquestis 
xall be taken atte lest iiij dayes beforn, undir this fourme, that alle 
maner of men that haue for to done atte the Schreuys turn and there 
ony thing wil seyen for owre lord the Kyng er for hym self, that they 
ben atte Gildehalle Suche a day as 30wre turn is set to ben holden and 
He schall ben herde. And that 36 schall seen Jjat the enquestis that 
arn for to be taken be twix Jje Kyng and partye, and be twix partye 
and partye, xall be taken endeferently wyth owtyn ony denominacion of 
eyther partye, be mowthe or be bylle, be the partyes or ony other in her 
name.^ And 36 schall doon 30ur Undir-Schreve and all 30ur other 
officers make such othe as to hem longyth that well and truly they 
schall don her offise wyth owtyn extorcyon or wrong doyng to ony 
man. And in especiall for the Enquestis Y arn to be taken be twix 
partie and partie ]>at they maken enquestis ne putte non names in non 
Enquestis atte denominacion of partye be mowthe ne be bylle ne no 
men but suche as he supposeth xuld ben indeferent men. And that the 
ferme of owre lord the Kynge for yowr time 36 xall payen and a quyten 
the forseyd Citee and the Comunaltie of the same. And these poyntis a 
forn rehersed Y 3^ schall deuly and truly obseruyn and kepyn 36 schall 
doo 30ure deuer. So help 30W God atte the holy dome.^ 

10. The Charge of y^ Undirshirreve. 

3e shal swere Y y^ shal the office of Undershirreve w' ynne ]pe Cite 
of Norwich and \t libertees of the same manerly" and truly to your 
power do and execute withoute extorcion or wrong doyng to eny persone, 
true entrees recordes and retornes upon your witte and connyng make, 
the libertes fraunchises and customes of this Cite to youre power 

1 Added later in margin, ' ' And that y= in your proper person shall be abydyng upon 
your baylewyk for the tyme y° shall be Shiriff of the seid Citie." 

2 The last words are crossed through and in a later hand is written, ' ' all sayntes the 
holy Evangelystes. " 

^ "Well " is substituted later. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 127 

mayntene and susteyne the profites of youre Maisters the Shirreves of 
this Cite diUgently awaite and entende, and in all other thyngges 
apperteynyng to youre office y'^ shal truly by have yow. So God helpe 
yow and alle seyntes. 

11. The Sergeantes Charge of y= Shirreues. 

3e schall swere that 36 schall truly this 3ere serve the Meyr and the 
Schrevis in her Courtes in the office of Sergeauntrie, truly all maner 
of pleyntes to 30W 30vyn longing to the Courte entren and executyn as 
hastly as 30 may, and as. many pleyntys as 36 may resceue truly 
bringyn into Jie seid courte and no pleynt consele ne beselyn take be 
30W or in 30ure name. Alle Somonys attachementis distresses preceptis 
warantis and Grene Wex and alle maner processe and execusyonis of 
the seid Cou3te truly seruyn and executyn and Certifien and non endes 
make be twen party and partye wyth owtyn the seid courte wherby^ ]je 
courte shall lose any right or profit. Also non panell maken atte non 
nominacion of partye ne non man empanell be twen party and partye 
but they J^at ben endefFerent men, in no wyse ne no man woman ne 
childe aforne [? y^] xall waren^ of no pleynt ne processe J^at is or xal be 
ageynes hym or hem in the same Courte but be autorite and Comaunde- 
ment of \& seid Courte ne non disceyt doon of non processe longyng to 
the seid Courte. At alle the Cou3tes holden in the Gyldehalle 36 xall 
ben present in 30ur propere persone but 3if 3e be comaunded otherwise 
be 30ure maistres or be the undirschereve. Also no man laton out of 
30wre warde to Maymprise after 36 have arested hym but forthewyth 
ledyn hym to the Gayle or to 30wre Meystris or to the undirschreve. 
And 36 xall at alle tymes necessarie be present and redy to do seruyce 
to 30wre meystres, and truly wayte and attende and kepe the avayle' 
and councell of the Courte at alle tymes In alle that 3e can or may. 
And alle these poyntis aforn rehersed 36 xall deuly and truly kepen 
and perfourme. So helpe 30W God atte the Holy Dome. 

12. The Othe of the Attornies in the Shreves Court within the 
Cittre of Norwiche before the Mayour {Lib. Alb. Norw., fol. 176). 

You shall swere that you shall well and trewly exercise the office 
of an attorneye w'^ in this Cittie and courte w* out taking excessy ve fees. 
Y= shall be trewe and gyve trewe counsaill unto your Clyaunts 
according to your witte and connyng. ¥■= shall not pleade noo false ne 
delatarye pleas nor plead any pleas to put the Courte out of Jurisdiction 
otherwise thenne the trewthe of the mattier and cawse will serve, 
according to your witte and connyng. You shall not gyve any evidens 
to Enquests takin betwixt partie and partie in any cawse or action 
otherwise thenne you shall be enformed by your Clyaunts or by suche 

1 The rest of this sentence is added later. 

2 Make them aware of. ^ Fr. availe, profit. 

128 Selected Records 0/ the City of Norwich. 

other persone or persones as shall witness the truthe of the mattier to 
your knowledge. You shall be obedyent to the Shereves and Courte in 
all things that be lawful. And y"^ shall gyve your attendaunce at 
the King's Courts of Oyer and Terminer, the Gayle Delyverye, the 
Quarto' Sessions to be holden w*in the seide Cittie, w'^'out cause 
resonable. And also y^ shall use and exercise your seid Office of Attornye 
w'''in the seide Courtes in all other cawses and mattiers perteyning to 
an Attomeye well and trewly according to your witte and knowleage 
and upholde and maynteyne the jurisdiction of the same courte to your 
best power. So heaipe you God and all saincts and by the contents of 
this booke. 

13. The Tresorers charge. 

36 schall swere that je xall be trewe to the Comoun and that 3e 
schall truly chargen 30W and dischargen 30W of alle parcell be you 
receyued. And 3e schall ouer seen alle maner thing that longeth to J?e 
Comown to haue of right. And that 3e schall make Dewe Serche twyes 
in the quarter wyth the Surve30urs or on of the Surveours or atte the 
leste wyth Jje Clerk and the Comoun seriaunt. And 36 schall don 
entren abouen on the Gyldehalle on the Saterday alle ]pe Costis don in 
the woke be forn. And that 3e schall no Cost don in no place wyth 
owten assente of the surveours abouen xU. And that alle artificers and 
laborers xuU be payd abouen on the Gyldehalle on the Seterday in 
Mone but in no maner Chaffare as it haith ben afore tyme. And this 
3e schall as deuly and as truly don as 3e xuld don for 30ur own goodis. 
So help 30W God at the Holy Dome. 

14. The Comoun Serjaunte. 

3e schall swere that 3e schall make trewe leve of alle the summes 
owyng or dewe to the Comown in the ende of euery quarter of the 3ere 
or wyth Inne iiij wokes next foluyng euery quarter of the 3ere. And 
thos summes un to the tresurers of Norwich wyth owtyn long turieng or 
wyth Inne viij wokes after the ende of euery quartere of the 3ere 36 
schall delyueren and paien. And 3if there be ony tenaunt un to the 
Comown that be suspecte of euill payment of his ferme for a quarter 
not hauyng sufficient plegis or valu for to paien his ferme, than 3e 
schall in the ende of euery quarter of the sere as often as it nedith or 
w' Inne iiij wokes after the ende of euery quarter wyth owtyn more 
tarieng suche a tenaunt distreyne and the distres so taken to wyth 
holden to the behoofe of the Comown to the tyme that the seid ferme 
w' the arrerages be fully payd and the Comoun fully satefied. And 
3if suche a tenaunt or persone haue not a sufficient Distres than 3e 
schall at the ende of ony quarter of the 3ere or wyth [in] iiij wokes 
next folnyng that person taken and attachen be the body and him leden 
to the preson of oure lege lord the Kyng ther to abyden til the tyme 
the Comown be satified. Also that 36 schuU ben buxum and obedient 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 129 

as well in worde and in dede to the Meire Surveyours and Tresorers' of 
the Citee in all lefull Commaundementis. And that 56 schall non-harme 
don to the Comon but yat 3e schall restoren, ne non knowen ne purposed 
to be don of non other persona ne persones but that 36 schall of tho 
persones or persone 5eue to the Meyre surveyours or tresorers''' warnyng 
and knowyng. And the goodis of the Comown besily je schall gaderen 
and truly kepen and truly ther of 3eue answer. And 3e schall not lete 
to ferme non stalle nen bowse longing to the Comunalte ne 3e schall 
not encrescen ne discreesen no tenauntis in her fermys with owtyn 
assent of the surveyoures and tresorers. And alle these aforeseid deuly 
and truly 36 schall fulfille and doon. So help 30W God atte Holy 

15. The charge of them that ben made Cite3ens. 

This here 3e Meyre Shereves and y'= Common Counsell that I xal 
from this day forward y= fraunchise and liberties of this Cyte of Norwich 
mayntene and sustene wiye my body and goodes, nomannys goodes 
avowe but myn owyn wher thorowe y^ Kyng or the comoun myght lese 
tol or custom or any oyer right, buxum ben to y'= Mere and to alle oyer 
governes yer of for y= tyme beyng, truly paye myn taxes and my 
talliages, alle offices to y= which I xal be chosen," them and iche of 
them accepten dilligentely and non refusen, all oyer charges lefully 
leyde uppon me and alle ordenaunces made or to be made wiye Inne 
y'= Citte'' obeyen and perfourmen from yis day forward. So help me 
God atte the Holy Dome. 

16. The Coroner's charge. 

5e schall svvere that 36 xall wyth Inne the liberte of the Cite of 
Norwych as well be water as be J^e lond qwere any persone, man woman 
or child, is founden ded, J^at is to seye drowned slayne murdred or 
soddeenly dede or oj^er wise be misfortune, upon lawfull knowynge unto 
30W to be made, un to ]>e same dede persone approche and neyghen and 
up on the syght of J^e dede persone diligent enquerre for to make, and 
in appelis exigendis and outlawries wyth Inne the same liberte to ben 
hadde as well as of the seyd inquerres trewe recordes to make.' And 
in all Jjat apperteyneth to the office of Coroners with in the seid 
liberte 36 xul truly do 30ur douere to 30ur powere wyth owt fraude of 
the Kyng and of the Citee of Norwych. So help 30W God atte the 
Holy Dome. 

1 This word is crossed through and " Chamberlains " added in a later hand. 

^ " Chamberlains" substituted. 

' Added in another little later copy, " in the City or in my crafte." 

^ Added as above, "or in my crafte confermed by the Common Counsell of y= Cite.'' 

^ Added, "and y" recordes of Inqueres to y'^ Chauraberleyns of y*-' Cite delyuer." 


1 30 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

XLVIII. Names of the Subleets and Small Wards. 

1. From the Leet Roll of 14 Richard II. (1391): — 

Conesford, Berstrete, S'- Stephen, S'- Peter de Manecroft, S'- 
Gregory, S'- Giles, S'- Andrew, S'- George, S'- Michael, 
S'- Clement. All called "' Leets." 

2. The Composition of 14 15. 

In the Ward of Conesford 2, viz : Conesforde, Berstrete. In 
Ward of Mancrofte 3, S'- Peter de Mancrofte, S'- Stephen, 
S'- Giles. In the Ward of Wymer 3, S'- Gregory, S'- 
Andrew, S'- George. In the Ward 'Ultra Aquam 2, 
Coselanye, Fybriggate. 

3. From 1st Book of Chamberlain! s Accounts. 24 and 25 H. VI. 
(1446), last entry. 

Conesford, Berstrete, Nedham, Newport, Westmancroft, Est- 
mancroft, S'- George, Westwyk, Fibriggate, S'- Gregory, 
S'- Andrew, Coslayne. See the same names in No. XLV. 

4. From an entry in Lib. Alb. Norm., fol. clxxvii. (145 1?). 

"Mem. That on the 20''^ day of August in the 21^' year of the 

reign of King Edward the 4* by precept of Robert Aylmer at that 

time Mayor of Norwich Geoffrey Spirleng clerk of the Mayoralty and 

Commonalty of the said City made a scrutiny how the agistment 

[agistamentumji for the repair of the walls of the city is set out [se 

extendit] and by what Aldermanries they ought to be repaired and how 

they have been wont [to act] in times past And upon this a certain 

paper writing [paperum scripture] of Robert Heigham formerly clerk 

of the city is found, made in the time of Ralph Segryme formerly Mayor 

of the City,^ by which the aforesaid Agistment is testified in the form 

which follows in the native tongue." The Aldermanries named are: — 

South Conesford, North Conesford, Berstrete, S'- Stephen, S'- 

Peter de Manecroft, S'- Giles, West Wymer, Middel Wymer, 

Coslany, Colgate, Fibrigge, Est Wymer. 

5. The Tenth of the City (1453)." [This follows a statement of the 
amount of the 2 Deductions the 2nd of which was in June, 1453, 31 
Henry VP'' (see Bk. of Pleas, fol 3 d)\ 

After stating the amount of a Tenth in each of the 4 great wards, 
in all ^95 4^'. orf., it proceeds ; — 

" Note. The City of Norwich is divided into 4 parts [quadripartita] 
in the following wards, viz., Conesford, Mancrofte, Wymer and Ultra 

' Apportionment and Assessment. '^ Mayor in 1451. 

" From Old Free Book, fol. clx. 

.f*' IN MAP II. 

1. St. Peter Southgate 

2. St. Etheldred 

3. St. JuKan 

4. St. Peter Parmentergate 

5. St. John de Sepulchre 

6. St. Michael at Thorn 

7. St. John Timberhill 
S. AU Saints 

g. S^. Stephen 

10. St. Peter Mancroft 

11. St. Giles 

12. St. Benedict 
13^ St. Swithin 

14. St. Margaret 

15. St. Lawrence 

16. St. Gregory 

17. St. John Maddermarket 

18. St. 

19. St. 

20. St. 

21. St. 

22. St. 

23. St. 

24. St. 

25. St. 

26. St. 

27. St. 

28. St. 

29. St. 

30. St. 
31- St. 
32. St. 

33- St. 

34- St. 


Michael at Plea 
Peter Hungate 
George Tombland 
Simon and St. Jude 
Martin ait Palace 
Helen " 
Michael Coslany 
Mary Coslany 
Martin at Oak 
George Colegate 


The Castle and the Shirehall belonging to the County of Norfolk. 

The Guildhall, formerly the Tolhouse. 

"Xhet Black Friars' Church, afterwards the New Hall, now St. Andrew's Hal! 

The New Mills, see p. 348. 

Names of Streets nsarked by fetters with their modern 


a. Over Conesford (King Street) 

i. Nether Conesford (Mountergate 

Street and St. Faith's Lane> 
c. Berstrete 

rf. Newgate (Surrey Street) 
e. Nedbamgate (St. Stephen's Street) 
/. Over Newport (Bethel Street) 
ff. Nether Newport (St. Giles' Street) 
A. Pottergate ' 
i. Over Westwick (St. Benedict's 


i4. Nether Westwick (Lower Westwick 

/. Holmstrete (Bishopgate Street) 
m. Coslanye (St. Martin's Street) 
». Muspolgajie 
a. Colgate 

p. Fibriggate (Magdalen Street) 
f. Fishergate 
r. Cowgate. 

Map II 





Over the Water 

Private Jurisdiction* 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich . 131 

" Within the Ward of Conesford are contained 3 Aldermanries which 
are divided in the form following, viz : — 

" One Aldermanry from Trous Bridge to the Church of the Convent South 

r -t . . , , Conesford. 

ot the Austin Friars within the bounds of which are contained the street 
of Trous, the Priory of Carrowe, the parish of S'- James there, the parish 
of S'- Peter de Southgate, the parish of S'- Edward, the parish of S'- 
Etheldreda, and the parishes of S'- Clement and S'- Julian. This Alder- 
manry is called South Conesford. The sum of its Tenth is 6o.y. \d., 
whereof upon Trous \2S. 

" The 2nd Aldermanry there from the said Church of the Austin g_5'^'^'jf^,.j 
Friars to a certain stone cross situated over against the great gates of 
the Cathedral Church of Holy Trinity of Norwich, and within its bounds 
the underwritten parishes are contained ; the Church and precinct of 
the Austin Friars, the parish of S'- Peter de Permontergate, the parish 
of S'- Vedast, the parish of S'- Mary of the Marsh, the Church and 
precinct of the Friars Minors, and the Parish of S'- Mary the Less. This 
Aldermanry is called North Conesford. The sum of its Tenth is 72J. 

" The 3rd Aldermanry there from the Parish of S'- James of Berstrete. 
Carrowe to the bounds of the parish of S'- Stephen. Within its bounds 
the underwritten parishes are comprehended ; the parish of S'- Nicholas 
called Brakendale, the- parish of S'- Sepulchre, the parish of S'- Bar- 
tholomew, the parish of S'- Michael, the parish of S'- Martin, the parish 
of S'- John at the postern gate [januam] of the Castle, and the parish 
of All Saints. This Aldermanry is named Berstrete. The sum of its 
Tenth is ^6 os. ^d. The street of Trous is assessed to the lord King's 
Tenth at i2.f. 

Sum total of the Ward, ;^i2 i2j. 8</. 
" Within the Ward of Mancrofte are contained 3 Aldermanries 
which are separated in form following, viz. : — 

" One Aldermanry which is called the Aldermanry of Nedham the Nedham. 
bounds of which are the precinct of the parish of S'- Stephen to the cross. 
The sum of its Tenth is £^1 is. \d.. 

" The 2nd Aldermanry is contained within the bounds of the parish Mancrofe, 
of S'- Peter de Mancroft with the Chapel in the Fields with all the 
land within the walls. This Aldermanry is called Mancrofte. Its Tenth 
is ^14 i5.f. lod. 

" The 3rd Aldermanry comprehends the parish of S'- Giles by the Newport. 
whole precinct of the said parish and is called the Aldermanry of 
Newport. The sum of its Tenth is 675. 2d. 

Sum total of the Ward, ^25 iis. 4^. 
" Within the Ward of Wymer also are comprehended 3 Aldermanries 
which are divided in form following, viz. : — 

' One Aldermanry from a certain cross situated in the middle of We-riwyk. 
the high way outside the gates of Westwyk towards the common watering 

1 3 2 Selected Records of the City of Noi^ivich. 

[adaquacionem] commonly called Nether Erlham Watteryng to a cross 
in the city called Shermanhille, within the bounds of which the under- 
written parishes are contained, viz. : the parish of S'- Benet, the parish 
of S'- Swithin, the parish of S'- Margaret, the parish of S'- Laurence, 
and the parish of S'- Gregory. This Aldermanry is called Westwyk. 
Its Tenth is ^ii 14^. '^d. 

"The rest is lost." 

According to the summary of the 4 Wards at the commencement, 
the other 2 Aldermanries in the Ward of Wymei- were Wymer, ^15 iSj. 2d,, 
Estwymer, ^^9 iij-. od. Sum total of the Ward, ;^37 3j-. -jd. Of Holme 
strete, zds. 8d., it is said, " It is within the said Ward but it is not contained 
in the said sum. It answers by itself according to the royal composition 
of King Edward I." 

In the Ward Utfra Aquam the Aldermanries were Coselanye 
£1 i>s. 4d., Colgate £4 is. ^d., Fybryggate £(1 os. id. Total of the 
Ward £I^ gs. gd. Of Normanneslond 2o.f. is said as above of 

Sum ;^95 4^. od. 

6. In a Return of Collectors of a Tax for Archers in Ltd. Alb. Notiv., 
fol. clxxvii. d, the names are thus given (1473) • — 

South Conesford, North Conesford, Berstrete ; S'' Peter Mancroft, 
S'- Stephen, S'- Giles; West Wymer, Middel-wymer, Est- 
wymer; Coslany, Colgate, Fybrigge — Spitlond and Raton 
rowe stand for Normanslond and Holmestrete. 

7. On the same folio is a statement that "The Fifteenth and 
Tenth in this Citie over the deductions as in the recorde of the King's 
Excheker is ;^8o 6s. ii^d.; this was sent by the Kynge's Comission in 
the i2'h year of Henry VII. [1497]." The names of the districts are 
the same, but the sums attached to them are different. 

On this matter see also No. CCXIX. (1453) and No. CCXXIII. 



XLIX. [LJEges et Consuetudines ab antique in Ciuitate 
Norwicensi optent' et usitat'. (Boo/z of Pleas, fol. 89.) 
Laws and Customs of old held and used in the City 
of Norwich. 

Cap. I. De Placito Corone. 

Concerning a Plea of the Crown. 

1 Frarainghani : For explanation of this word and the initial " L " in the title, 
sec Preface to " Custumal," Introduction X. 2. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 133 

Cap. 2. De murdro si infra libertatem Ciuitatis inueniatur. 

Concerning murder if it be found within the Uberty of the 
,, 3. De appellacione facienda pro felonia et eius forma et 
Concerning malcihg an appeal for felony and its form and 
„ 4. De nianifestis latronibus et eorum receptatoribus. 

Concerning open thieves and those that harbour them. 
„ 5. De clamore et iitesio levato et qualiter sequi debeat. 

Concerning cry and hue raised and how one ought to 
follow it up. 
,, 6. De fugitiuis ad ecclesiam et ceteris fugitiuis. 

Concerning fugitives to a church and other fugitives. 
,, 7. De utlagatis et eorum bonis. 

Concerning outlaws and their goods. 
„ 8. De extraneis conuersantibus in ciuitate vel subuibio 
eiusdem suspecte. 
Concerning strangers behaving suspiciously in the City or 
its suburb. 
„ 9. De submersis in ciuitate et communi ripa usque ad 
aquam de Breything. 
■ Concerning those that are drowned in the city and the 
common river as far as the water of Breything. 
„ 10. De vulneracionibus aliorum et sanguinem extrahentibus 
contra pacem. 
Concerning wounding of others and those that draw blood 
contrary to the peace. 
,, II. De placito per breue de recto et dilacionibus in 
Concerning a plea by writ of Right and the delays therein. 
,, 12. De placito de recto dotis per breue. 

Concerning a plea of right of Dower by writ. 
„ 13. De placito per breue de ingressu et de transgressione. 

Concerning a plea by writ of Entry and of Trespass. 
„ 14. De placito per breue quod Replegiar' 
Concerning a plea by writ of Replevin. 
„ 15. De placito ubi et quando Essonia debent fieri in 
Concerning a plea where and when Essoins ought to be 
made in the City. 

134 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

ment is. 




Cap. 16. De placito per breue de nocumento. 
Concerning a plea by writ of Nuisance. 

De Abbaciamento et hamsoken. 

Concerning Abatement and Hamsoken. 
De Probacionibus seu Examinacionibus super testamentis 
faciendis in curia ciuitatis de laico tenemento legato. 
Concerning making Proofs or Examinations upon testa- 
ments in the City Court concerning a lay tenement 
De Tenemento legato marito per uxorem quod fuerat 
ipsius uxoris ante matrimotiium. 
Concerning a Tenement devised to a husband by the wife 
which had been the wife's before matrimony. 

20. De Tenemento legato uxori per maritum seu aliis de 
uxoris consensu. 

Concerning a Tenement devised to a wife by the husband 
or to others with the wife's consent. 

De Cartis liberandis legatur' post testamentum probatum. 
Concerning delivery of Deeds to a Divisee after probate 
of the Testament. 

De Tenemento condicionaliter legato per Balliuos in 
casu liberando. 

Concerning a Tenement conditionally devised being in a 
certain case delivered by the Bailiffs. 

De Tenemento per virum et uxorem coniunctim adquesito 
et de consensu legato. 
Concerning a Tenement conjointly acquired by a husband 
and wife and devised by consent. 

De placito contra intrusores in tenementis legatis. 

Concerning a plea against intruders into tenements devised. 

De cartis in curia recognitis per clericum iuratum 

Concerning enrolling by the sworn clerk of Deeds acknow- 
ledged in Court. 

26. De placito debit! inter pares ville sine breui. 

Concerning a plea of Debt between Peers of the Vill 
without a Writ. 

De placito debiti inter pares ville et forinsecum. 
Concerning a plea of Debt between Peers of the Vill and 
a Foreigner. 







Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 135 

Cap. 28. De Districcionibus faciendis contra fugitantes a pari villc 
pro debito suo. 
Concerning making distraints on Fugitives from a Peer 
of the Vill for his debt. 

„ 29. De placito debiti recuperando a viro quod uxor sui 
cepit a pari ville. 
Concerning a plea of Debt for recovering from a husband 
what his wife has received from a Peer of the Vill. 
„ 30. De Districcionibus non liberandis cum de fraude teneatur 
et sub modo. 
Concerning not delivering distraints when one is held for 
a man's fraud and under [what] form. 
,, 31. De placito transgressionis vel contractus ubi nominatur 
in foro. 
Concerning a plea of trespass or contract where " in the 
market " is named. 

„ 32. De redditu assisse vendendo vel legato et de potestate 
Concerning selling or devising a Rent of Assize and the 
power of the person acquiring it. 

„ 33. De assissa panis vini et seruicie custodienda et de 
mensure [sic] signanda. 
Concerning keeping the Assize of Bread Wine and Ale 
and sealing the measures. 

„ 34. De vulnis et ponderibus in ciuitate habendis et conser- 
Concerning having and keeping Ells and Weights in the 
35. De Trona et balanc' habend' et eas usitand'. 

Concerning having a Beam and Balances and using them. 

„ 36. De Introitibus recipiendis ad parem ville. 

Concerning receiving Entries for a man to become a Peer 
of the Vill. 

„ 37. De Regratariis et Forestailariis, 

Concerning Regrators and Forestallers. 

„ 38. De pluribus seruientibus non habentibus [sic] in 
Concerning not having several servants in merchandising. 

39. De non admittendo socium in mercandisis. 

Concerning not admitting a partner in merchandising. 

\T,6 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Cap. 40. De carnificibus abbrocariis et tipilariis. 

Concerning Butchers Brokers and Tiplers. 

„ 41. De mercandisis non absconditis nee per fraiidem 
conducendis extra villam. 
Concerning not hiding merchandise nor fraudulently leading 
it out of the town. 

„ 42. De extraneis non hospitandis nisi hospes veiit respondere. 
Concerning not entertaining strangers unless the host is 
willing to answer for them. 

„ 43. De seruientibus operariis malefactoribus propter audaciam 
Concerning labouring servants who are evildoers through 
boldness of their poverty. 

44. De conseruando fossata ciuitatis. 

Concerning keeping the City ditches. 

,, 45. De pena infligenda ciuibus per contumaciam in com- 
munibus negociis conuocatis. 
Concerning inflicting a penalty on citizens for contumacy 
when summoned to common business. 

„ 46. De operibus in ciuitate usitandis et scrutandis. 

Concerning using and searching occupations in the City. 

„ 47. De Compotis recipiendis in Ciuitate. 

Concerning receiving Accounts in the City. 

„ 48. De execucionibus faciendis super iudicatos et auxilium 
[sic] faciend'. 
Concerning executions to be made on persons judged and 
on [defaulters in] making an Aid. 

„ 49. De seruientibus narrantibus in ciuitate et eorum gestu. 
Concerning Sergeants Countors in the city and their 

„ 50. De recusantibus admiltere onus balliui in eleccione et 
eorum pena. 
Concerning persons refusing to take up the charge of 
Bailiff on election and their penalty. 

„ 51. De Juramento Balliuorum in eorum eleccione. 

Concerning the Oath of the Bailiffs on their election. 

„ 52. De placito per breue de compote reddendo. 

Concerning a plea by Writ " Of rendering Account." 

Selected Records of the City of Norivich. 137 

Cap. 53. De quo nuUus eligatur bis in Balliuum infra quatuor 
annos qiiin deficit.^ 
Concerning no man being elected Bailifif twice within an 
interval of 4 years. 

„ 54. De piacito per breue quare cessavit per bienniiim.^ 

Concerning a plea by Writ "Whereas he has ceased for 
2 years." 

Capitulum PKIMUM. 

In primis. In casu ubi aliqiiis interficiat alium in ciuitate vel 
suburbio aut in aliquo illius ciuitatis fine vol faciat contreinacionem 
domorum aut aliam feloniam in eisdem et ille malefactor poterit 
in eisdem inueniri statim capiatur corpus suum et in prisona 
ciuitatis mancipetur et saluo custodiatur ibidem sine quacunque 
dimissione per pleuinam" aut alio inodo quousque indicium 
secundum legem et ciuitatis illius consuetudinem fiat de eodem 
sic in eadem deprehenso quod iustum erit. 

Capitulum secundum. 

Item si murdrum sit inuentum in ciuitate vel suburbio vel aqua 
supradictis videlicet quod nulla englesceria'' presentetur pro eo quod 

Chapter ist. 

First. In case where any man kills another in the city or suburb 
or in any bound of the city or makes disturbance of houses or does 
other felony in the same and that evildoer can be found within the 
same (bounds) let his body immediately be taken and held in the prison 
of the city and safely guarded there without any release by replevin or 
other way until judgment according to law and the custom of the city 
be made concerning him that is thus apprehended in the said (city) as 
shall be just. 

Chapter 2ND. 

Also if a murder is found in the city or suburb or water of the 
same, to wit that no englishry is to be presented for that the city has 

' See Introduction X. 2. Blomefield, Hist. Nor. III., 73, 92. 

2 Statute of Gloucester (6 E. I.) u. 4. Statute of Westminster II. (13 E. I.) c. 
21. Pollock and Maitland, Hist, of Eng. Law, i., 353. 

■* By giving security. 

J Proof that the murdered person was of English and not Norman race. I'his 
requirement was abolished throughout the kingdom in 1340. The Citi2ens of Norwich 
were released from paying murder-fines by the Charter of 5 Richard I. 

138 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

ilia ciuitas habet cartam domini Regis de quietancia murdri in 
eadem ciuitate aqua vel suburbio supradictis inuenti quando 

Capitulum tekcium. 

Item appelluiu^ de felonia quandocunque fieri contingat semper 
fiat in comitatu sicut hactenus in eadem ciuitate in huiusmodi 
appellis fieri consueuit. 

Capitulum quartum 

Item de latronibus manifestis captis in eadem ad sectam partis 
et cum manu opere^ suo iudicetur in curia ciuitatis coram corona- 
toribus et Balliuis eiusdem. Et similiter fiat de latronibus captis 
in eadem ciuitate pro latrocinio cum eis inuento licet factum sit 
commissum in forinseco" dum tainen super habeatur secta* contra 
huiusmodi latrones. Set nullo modo sine secta procedatur per ipsos 
de ciuitate in hac parte ad indicium de eisdem usque ad communem 

a charter of the lord king concerning quittance of murder found in the 
said city water or suburb when it shall happen. 

Chapter 3RD. 

Also an appeal of felony whensoever it chance to be made shall 
always be made in the county [court] as hath been wont to be done 
in the said city hitherto in such appeals. 

Chapter 4TH. 

Also concerning open thieves taken in the said city at the suit of a 
party and with their mainour let judgment be given in the court of the 
city before the coroners and Bailiffs of the same. And in like manner be 
it done concerning thieves taken in the said city for larceny found 
with them although the deed be committed in the foreign, provided 
however that a suit be afterwards had against such thieves. But in 
no wise without a suit let those of the city proceed to judgment in this 

1 An "appeal " was a personal charge. The County or Sheriff's Court was within the 
precinct of the Castle. On these appeals, see Gross Office of Coroner [Selden Society, 
vol. IX., pp. xlii. and xliii.). 

2 With the stolen goods in their possession. 
' Outside the city. 

^ A " suit " was a following of persons ready to support the charge. This chapter is 
so completely illustrated by the case of Walter Eghe (No. LXXXVII.) in 1285 that its 
compilers might well have had that case in their minds. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 139 

libeiacionem prisone Norwici et tunc veniant Justiciarii ad prisonam 
liberandam assignati in curiam ciuitatis^ de talibus latronibus ubi 
nulla est secta cum latrocinio inuentis secundum legem communem 
regni^ iudicaturi et non facit [sic] fraus per balliuos de falsa secta in 
huiusmodi facienda et procuranda. Et acceptator huiusmodi 
latronum [si] in ilia ciuitate poterint inueniri et de huiusmodi 
acceptamento sint indictati et de hoc conuicti poterint [sic] in 
eadem curia ciuitatis fiat similiter iudicium de eisdem secundum 
quod de latrone si inuentum fuerit quod latronem receptauit sciens 
eius latrocinium si principalis conuincatur. 

Capitulum quintum. 

Item de utesio et clamore levato in ciuitate de die vel de nocte 
pro aliqua felonia vel roberia facta in ciuitate memorata vel in 
suburbio eiusdem fiat secta statim per homines qui sunt de 
fidelitate domini Regis quousque capiatur ille contra quem levatum 
fuerit vel se legi attachiaverit et justiciari velit. 

case concerning them until the common delivery of the prison of Norwich 
and then the Justices assigned for the delivery of the prison come into 
the court of the city to give judgment concerning such thieves, where no 
suit is made with the larceny found, according to the common law of the 
kingdom. And let not fraud be done by the bailiffs concerning making 
and procuring false suit in such a case. And the receivers of such thieves 
[if] they can be found in the said city and be indicted for such receiving 
and be convicted thereof in the said court of the city let judgment in like 
manner be done concerning them as concerning the thief if it shall be 
found that he [sic] received the thief knowing his larceny, if the principal 
be convicted. 

Chapter 5TH. 

Also concerning hue and cry raised in the city by day or by night 
for any felony or robbery done in the said city or in the suburb thereof let 
suit be made immediately by men who are of the fealty of the lord king 
until he against whom the hue has been raised be taken or shall have 
attached himself [to stand] to law and be willing to be brought to 

1 By Letters Patent of 2 Feb. 19 E. II. 1326 (Introduction IV. i) these Justices were 
forbidden to hold their sessions in any place but the Shirehouse. This would rather 
imply that this Chapter was written before that date. 

2 The term " Common Law " to distinguish customary from Statute Law was hardly 
in use at the date assigned to this Custumal, but it was in use to distinguish the general law 

1 40 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Capitulum sextum. 

Item de felonibus post feloniam factam ad ecclesiam fugientibus 
infra ciuitatem illam et [?si] ibi morentur usque ad abiuracionemi 
regiii eorum catalla apprecientur ad opus domini Regis si que 
habuerint tempore abiuracionis sue in ilia ciuitate facte. Et ilia 
catalla per idem precium per coronatorem illius ciuitatis liberentur 
certis homiiiibus de eadem qui inde respondeant in itinere 
Justiciariorum cum euenerit. Et in casu ubi fugitivus terram 
abiurans habeat terras et tenementa in ciuitate et ilia tenuerit de 
aliquo conciue eiusdem per certum seruicium annuum unde eschaeta 
de liuiusmodi terra seu tenemento eidem conciui poterit seu debuerit 
accederc vel accrescere et apprecietur annus et vastus'' ad valorem 
eiusdem ad opus domini Regis. Et ad idem precium liberetur 
eidem conciui de quo ipse tenuit ad inde respondendum et de 
medio tempore domini Regis [sic] in itinere Justiciariorum cum 
euenerit per bonam seeuritatem in hac parte faciendam. Et eodem 
modo fiat de certis fugitiuis quorum bona et catalla per eorum 

Chapter 6th. 

Also concerning felons after a felony done fleeing to a church within 
the city and there abiding till they abjure the kingdom let their chattels be 
appraised to the use of the lord king if they have any at the time of their 
abjuration made in the city. And let the chattels at the said price be 
delivered by the coroner of the city to certain men of the same who shall 
answer thereof at the Iter of the Justices when it shall occur. And in the 
case where the fugitive abjuring the kingdom has lands and tenements in 
the city and holds them of another fellow-citizen of the same by certain 
annual service whereof escheat of such land or tenement can or ought to 
fall or accrue to the said fellow-citizen, let the year and waste to the value 
of the same be appraised to the use of the lord king. And at the 
said price let it be delivered to the said fellow-citizen of whom he held to 
answer thereof and for the intermediate time to the lord king at the Iter of 
his Justices when it shall occur, by good security to be made on that behalf. 
And in the same manner be it done concerning certain fugitives whose 

of the land from special or local law. (Pollock and Maitland, Hist, of E. Law, 2nd 
edition, i. 177). The language of this clause seems taken from the Charter of 33 E. I. 
(No. X), where the expression used is " according to the law and custom of our kingdom." 

1 A felon who had taken sanctuary, if he refused to stand a trial, might elect to abjure 
the kingdom, in which case a day and a port were assigned for his departure. 

■■* The King had -<x. right to enjoy the lands of a felon for a year and a day and to 
commit waste thereon (Jacob, Law Did., "Year Day and Waste"). 

Selected Records of the City of Norimch 1 4 1 

fugam sunt forisfacta. Et similiter fiat et teneatur in ilia ciuitate 
de bonis et catallis terris et teiiementis illoruin qui meritis suis 
exii;;entibus sint in eadem ciuitate utlagati. 

Capitulum septimum. 
Item si quis utlagatus vel alius teriam domini Regis abiurans 
sine speciali gracia domini Regis ad suum infortunium reucrtatur 
et in ciuitate predicta inueniatur statim sequatur cum utesio et 
clamore de loco ad locum et fiat incontinentim de ipso indicium 
quod conuenit in hac parte sine aliqua detencione vel imprisona- 
mento si fugam fecerit et ad pacem se reddere noluerit. Et si 
aliquo casu contingat quod talis per ignoranciam capiatur et per 
aliquod interuallura detineatur ant in prisona adducatur et ibidem 
mancipetur tunc nullo modo fiat tale iudicium. Set bene et saluo 
custodiatur sine qualibet dimissioue usque ad communem libera- 
cionem prisone ciuitatis predicte. Et caueat sibi custos prisone 
quod bene et fideliter custodiatur salua custodia et sepius visitetur 
propter fraudem que poterit euenire. 

Capitulum octavum. 
Item de extraneis ad ciuitateni concurrentibus et in eadem 

goods and chattels are forfeited by their flight. And in like manner be it 
done and held in the city concerning the goods and chattels lands and 
tenements of those who through their deserts requiring it are outlawed 
in the said city. 

Chapter 7TH. 

Also if an outlaw or other abjuring the land of the lord king without 
special grace of the lord king return at his peril and be found in the 
said city let him be pursued at once with hue and cry from place to 
place and let judgment such as is right in such case be instantly done 
concerning him without any detention or imprisonment, if he have made 
flight and refused to restore himself to peace. And if in any case it 
happens that such a one is taken in ignorance and detained for some 
interval or led to prison and held there, then by no means let such 
judgment be made but let him be well and safely guarded without any 
release until the common delivery of the prison of the said city. And 
let the keeper of the said prison take heed to himself that he is well 
and faithfully guarded in safe keeping and often visited by reason of the 
fraud which might arise. 

Chapter 8th. 

Also concerning strangers coming to the city and making slay 

142 Selected Records of the City of Norzvich. 

moram facientibus et suspecte et fatue se gerentibus unde mala 
suspeccio a fide dignis versus illos merito oiiatur arestentur tales 
suspecti per balliuos vel constabularies ciuitatis per corpora sua et 
saluo custodiantur donee competentem inuenerunt securitatem 
quod parati erunt ad pacem domini Regis iuxta legem terra et 
regni ac predicte ciuitatis consuetudinem et quod bene et fideliter 
se habebunt in ilia ciuitate. 

Capitulum nonum. 

Item de submersis in aqua Norwici et communi Ripa usque 
ad aquam de Breything^ fontibus puteis in eadem existentibus 
vel alibi et aliis in ciuitate subito morientibus fiat visus corone^ 
de talibus inuentis in aqua videlicet usque ad locum antiquitus 
usitatum apud Breything Et super terram usque ad quatuor [ ]' 
ciuitatis et si per coronatorem nee per inquisicionem ad preceptum 

in the same and behaving themselves in a suspicious and foolish manner 
whereby evil suspicion from men of credit towards them deservedly arises 
let such suspected men be arrested by their bodies by the bailiffs or 
constables of the city and safely guarded until they have found competent 
security that they will be ready [to answer] to the peace of the lord 
king according to the law of the land and the realm and the custom 
of the said city and that they will hold themselves well and faithfully 
in the city. 

Chapter qth. 

Also concerning persons drowned in the water of Norwich and the 
common River as far as the water of Breything in wells or pits existing 
in the said city or elsewhere and other persons suddenly dying in the 
said city let there be a view of the crown concerning such persons found 
in the water to wit as far as the place anciently used at Breything, and 
upon land as far as the four [ ] of the city. And if neither by the 

' Breydon Water, the estuary at the back of Yarmouth which receives the combined 
waters of the Bure, Yare (more correctly Wensum), and Waveney. The exact spot to which 
the City jurisdiction extended was afterwards marked by a cross called Hardley Cross at the 
mouth of the little river Chet. Breydon Water is now two miles further down the river, but 
doubtless at the time of the compilation of the Customs it extended more inland. The City 
jurisdiction included the whole separate course of the river Wensum from Norwich. See 

•'■ A Coroner's Inquest. See No. LXXXVIII. 

3 A word is here omitted in error at the commencement of a new line. Kirkpatrick, 
Streets, &c., p. 90, quoting this passage, speaks of four "crosses." On this matter, see 
Introduction VI. 3. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 143 

eorundem vocatam coram eisdem coronatoribus et per ipsos factam 
nichil nisi bonum poterit inueniri nee aliquod impedimentum fit 
aliunde in hac parte per quod humacio corporis sic inuenti debeat 
retardari statim detur licentia ad humandum corpus huius inuenti 
sine delacione ulteriori. 

Capitulum decimum. 

Item si quis infra ciuitatem alium maliciose vulneravit unde 
desperatur de vita vulnerati statim capiatur ipse qui sic alium 
vidneravit et imprisoiietur in prisona ciuitatis et ibi sine aliqua 
dimissione saluo custodiatur donee bona spes de leso habeatur. 
Et perdat ille malefactor arma ilia quibus alium sic vulneravit. Et 
remaneant arma ilia Balliuis ciuitatis tanquam forisfacta. Et ipse 
delinquens facial competentes emendas leso si conualescat. Et 
nichilominus erga balliuos grauiter amercietur et puniatur pro pace 
violata. Et similiter si quis in eadem per malisiam ab alio maliciose 
sanguinem violenter extraxerit statim ad sectam usque attachietur 
ille malefactor per corpus suum si lesus contra eum sequi voluerit 
quousque se legi velit attachiare et quod debitas inde le o faciet 

coroners nor by the inquest summoned at their precept before the said 
coroners and by them held nothing but good can be found nor any 
hindrance is made from elsewhere in this case whereby the burial of 
the body thus found ought to be delayed, let licence at once be given 
to bury the body of the person thus found without further delay. 

Chapter ioth. 

Also if any one within the city has maliciously wounded another 
whereby the life of the wounded person is despaired of, let him who has 
thus wounded another be forthwith taken and imprisoned in the prison 
of the city and there without any release safely guarded until good hope 
is had concerning the wounded. And let the evil doer lose the weapons 
with which he has thus wounded another. And let the weapons remain 
with the Bailiffs of the city as forfeits. And let the offender make due 
amends to the wounded if he recover. And none the less let him be 
heavily amerced and punished towards the bailiffs for breaking the 
peace. And in like manner if any one in the said city by malice has 
maliciously drawn blood of another by violence let the evil doer be 
forthwith attached by his body to answer to a suit, if the wounded man 
wishes to sue him, until he is willing to attach himself to law and that 
he will make due amends to the wounded therefor and be punished 

144 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

emendas et punictur erga Balliuos si conuincatur. Et si lesus 
sequi nolueiit versus eundeiii vel ausus non fuerit nichillominus si 
commissum sit notorium attacliietur ad respondendum coram balliuis 
ex officio suo de pace violata et si inueiitum sit siue ex officio siue 
ad sectam ipsum sic deliquisse grauiter amercietur par balliuos et 
adhuc perdat arma ilia ad opus balliuorum quibus sic violentiam 
fecerit sicut forisfacta. Et in verberacionibus ac, ceteris trans- 
gressionibus minutis in ilia ciuitate factis habeat unusquisque sectam 
suam per vadium et plegium,' etc. secundum quod communiter 
fuerat usitatum ab antiquo in ciuitate predicta et fieri consueuit ne 
huiusmodi transgressores audaciam habeant delinquendi ac talia 
commissa transeant impunita. 

Capitulum undecimum. 

Item breue de Recto^ placitetur in ciuitate ilia sub hac forma 
videlicet per tres somoniciones et tres districciones posiea factas 
tenenti de quindena et postea potest tenens facere defaltain et 
tunc preceptuin crit capiendi tenementum illud petitum in manum 
domini Regis et post defaltam factam replegjare tcrram et venire 

towards the Bailiffs if he be convicted. And if the wounded man is 
unwilling to make suit against him or dares not do it, notwithstanding 
if the deed be notorious let hini be attached to answer before the bailiffs 
by reason of their office for breach of the peace and if he be found, 
whether officially or at a suit, to have thus offended let him be heavily 
amerced by the bailiffs and further let him lose the weapons to the 
use of the bailiffs with which he has done the violence as forfeits. And 
in blows and other small assaults done in the city let every one have 
his suit by wed and pledge &c. according to what has commonly been 
used of old in the said city and is wont to be done, lest such transgressors 
have boldness of offending and such acts pass unpunished. 

Chapter iith. 

Also let a Writ of Right be pleaded in the city in this form to wit 
by 3 summonses and 3 distraints afterwards made to the tenant fortnightly 
and afterwards the tenant may make default and then an order shall be 
made to take the tenement claimed into the hand of the lord king and 
ai'ter default made [the tenant] may replevy the land and come to his 

' By giving due secutity tliat he will follow up the charge. 

2 A claim to ownership of land against a tenant in occupation. The various delays, 
essoins (legal excuses for absence), and other steps in the process caused these actions to 
linger on for a year or more. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 145 

ad diem suuin et defenderci soinouiciones et weynare districcioiies 
in hec verba Simon de N. qui ci est defend somonus et weyne 
lez distres et gage la ley selonque les usages de la cite et vadiare 
legem." Quamquidem legem non peificiet nisi velit et tamen hoc 
noil vertetur sibi in defaltam in curia ciuitalis et postmodum 
habcbit tria essonia et diem de quindena in quindenam. Et post 
ilia tria essonia habebit visum terre;' Et post visum terre habebit 
tria essonia ut prius que facient mcncionem de visu petito sicut 
prius in lege vadiata Et postmodum potest tenens vocare ad 
waraiitam si warantum babeat vel respondeat ulterius ad placitum 
principale de recto. Et ponat se tenens in Deum et in bonam 
Inquisicionem in forma magne Assisse* an ipse liabeat maius ius in 
sua retencione sicut tenet quam petens in sua peticione sicut petit 
de habeado tenementum petitum in doininico Et cui det ilia 
inquisicio illud Jus inter partes illas [illius sit] in perpetuum. Et 
erunt quatuor viri fide digni de consensu partium electi ad eligendum 

day and defend the summons and waive the distraints in these words 
" Simon de N. q ci est defend somonus et weyne lez distres et gage la 
ley selonque les usages de la cite " and wage his law. Which law he 
shall not perform unless he wills and yet it shall not be turned against 
him into a default in the court of the city. And afterwards he shall 
have 3 essoins and a day from fortnight to fortnight. And after the 3 
essoins he have a view of the land. And after the view of the land he 
shall have 3 essoins as before which shall make mention of the view 
demanded as before in waging the law. And afterwards the tenant may 
vouch to warrant if he have a warrant or answer further at the principal 
plea of right. And the tenant shall put himself on God and a good 
inquest in form of a Grand Assize whether he has greater right in his 
holding as he holds than the claimant in his claim as he claims with 
regard to holding the claimed tenement in demesne, and to whom the 
inquest gives the right between the parties [let it be his] for ever. And 
there shall be 4 men of credit chosen by consent of the parties to choose 

1 Deny the summons and forego the distraints. 

2 In earlier times this was done by a judicial combat or duel. In Norwich, by Charter 
of Richard I., a man might do it by calling so many oath-helpers to support the truth of his 

3 A personal inspection of the land by a jury. 

< A jury of neighbours, whose verdict should be final as to which of the two litigants had 
the greater right to the freehold in dispute. At Yarmouth (Swinden, p. 139) the number 
was 16. See also Maitland and Pollock, Hist. Engl. Law, i. 147, ii. 63 ; Reeves, Hist. 

E. Law, i. 188. 


146 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

istam Inqiiisicionein in presencia partium predictarum. Et sciendum 
est quod omnes dies et omnes dilaciones antedicte erunt in 
quiiidenam in quindenam et hoc semper per diem lune.' Et ille 
qui vocauerit a warant [sic] sequatur breue suum de faciendo 
somonicionem waranti ad warantizandum in Itinere Justiciarionim" 
cum primo euenerit si ille sit forinsecus et nichii habeat in ciuitate, 
Ita quod liabeat breue suum ad tercium diem Essonii sui postea 
et hoc periculo suo. Et si demandans velit contraplacitare quod 
nee ille vocatus a warant nee eius antecessor nunquam fuerat 
seisitus in dominico de tenemento petito et hoc velit verificare 
et tenens nolit in hoc contrarie ipsum transversare tunc ponatur 
ad aliam responcionem faciendam. Et si vocatus gratis veniat et 
vvarantizet et uon poterit contra placitare petentem habeat petens 
suam prosecucionem versus vocatum in vvarantum adeo sicut 
versus tenetem ilium per suam warantam. Et si ille tenens 
nullum habeat warantum tunc procedatur ad inquisicioiiem 
capiendam in forma supradicta. Et si casu adueniente per 
defaltam vel per Inquisicionem perdat ille tenens tenementum 
petitum et habeat ille petens suum recuperare versus primum 
tenentum de peticione sua predicta et ille versus warentum suum 

the Inquest in the presence of the said parties. And it is to be known 
that all the beforesaid days and all the postponements shall be from 
fortnight to fortnight and that always on Monday. And he who shall 
have vouched to warrant shall sue his writ for making summons of the 
warrantor to warrant in the Iter of the Justices when first it falls if he 
be a foreigner and have nothing in the city. So that he have his writ 
at the third day of his essoin afterwards and that at his peril And if 
the defendant wishes to counterplead that neither he who is vouched 
to warrant nor his predecessor ever had been seised in demesne of 
the tenement claimed and is willing to verify this, and the tenant will 
not traverse him thereon to the contrary, then let him be put to making 
another answer. And if the vouchee of his own accord come and warrant 
and cannot counterplead the claimant let the claimant have his prosecution 
against the vouchee-to-warrant just as against the tenant by his warrant. 
And if the tenant have no warrant then let the process go to taking an 
inquest in the abovesaid form. And if perchance by default or by inquest 
the tenant lose the tenement claimed, let the claimant have his recovery 
against the first tenant on his aforesaid suit and the tenant against his 

' Marginal note in later hand : " Nota de die conveniendi in xv in xv (from 
fortnight to fortnight) tt semper per diem lune." 

'•* In accordance with the -Statute of Gloucester (9 E. I. ch. 12). 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 147 

ad valorem tenementi petiti. Si vero vocatus ad warantum liabeat 
in ciuitate uiide warantizare possit tunc procedatur versus ipsum 
per somonicionem virtute primi breuis in omni casu sicut versus 
lenentem etc. Et quia multociens petens impediatur de suo Jure 
per hoc quod tenens vel warantus postquam se posuerit [m] 
Inquisicionem loco magne assisse quocienscunque fiat apparencia 
in curia [? se essoniat] non prorogetur Inquisicio capienda dum 
tamen unicum habuerit essonium post apparenciam. 

Capitulum duodfximum. 

Item placitum de breui de Recto de dote defendatur per iiias 
et easdem dilaciones quibus defendetur per breue de recto ut 
supra in proximo capitulo notatur usque ad responcionem. Et 
potest tenens in casu respondere quod mulier que petit iiuncquam 
fuerat eidem desponsata de cuius morte petit. El in tali casu 
rogetur Episcopus loci ut inquirat in curia Christianitatisi super 
hoc et curie ciuitatis certificet quod inuenerit in hac parte et 
secundum hoc procedatur ad iudicium. Et potest tenens in casu 
respondere quod maritus illius mulieris petentis per cuius mortem 

warrant to the value of the tenement sued. If however the vouchee-to- 
warrant have in the city whereof he can warrant then let process be 
against him by summons by virtue of the first writ in every case as 
against the tenant &c. And because many times the claimant is hindered 
of his right, for that the tenant or warrant after he has put himself on 
an inquest in place of a grand assize as often as an appearance is made 
in court [? essoins himself], let not the taking of an inquest be postponed 
provided however that he has one essoin after appearance. 

Chapter i2th. 

Also let a plea of Writ of Right of Dower be defended by these 
and the same delays as defence shall be made in a Writ of Right as 
is noted above in the last chapter as far as the reply. And the tenant can 
in case reply that the woman who sues was never married to him on 
whose death she sues. And in such case let the Bishop of the place 
be asked that enquiry may be made in the court of Christianity about this 
and let hirfi certify to the court of the city what he has found in this 
matter and according to that let the case proceed to judgment. And the 
tenant can in case reply that the husband of the woman suing by whose 

1 The local ecclesiastical Court which had legal cognisance of maUers relating to 
marriage.-- and testaments. See Led Jurisdiction, No. CCCXIII. 

148 Selected Records of the City of Norvjich. 

dotem petit non fuerat seisitus ut de feodo die quo ipsam 
desponsauit nee postea per quod ii)sa iion debet respondeii eidem 
mulieri et de hoc sint partes ad verificacioiiem si hoc velint 
exspectare. Et potest respoudtri eidein muUeri quod ipsa dotem 
habere non debet pro eo quod ipsa per consensum cum marito suo 
in plena curia ciuitatis coram bailiuis et aiiis bonis hominibus 
dictum tenementum donauit tenenti vel eius aiitecessoribus vel 
illi cuius assignatus ipse est et super hoc ostendat factum suum 
proprium [per] quod hoc testificetur dum tameii iliud factum 
irrotuiatum reperiatur in plena curia ciuitatis secundum eius 
consuetudinem tunc excludatur ilia muiier a peticione sua in 
pcrpetuum. Et eodem modo excludantur oinnes mulieres de 
omnimodis accionibus suis quo ad tenementa petenda post 
mortem maritorum suorum in omnibus placilis et querelis ubi 
tale factum suum proprium poterit contra ipsos proponi et 

Capitulum terciumdecimum. 

Item placitum per breue de Ingressu et per breue trans- 
gressionis ubicunque sit in Curia Regis siue in banco siue 
alibi in ilia curia vel somonicionis vel per attachiamentum 

death she sues for a dower was not seised of it as of fee on the day when 
he married her nor afterwards wherefore no answer ought to be made 
to the said woman and concerning this let there be parties to verify 
if they wish to await this. And answer may be given to the woman 
that she ought not to have a dower for that she by consent with her 
husband in the full court of the city before the Bailiffs and other good 
men gave the said tenement to the tenant or his ancestors or to him 
whose assign he is. And [if] upon this he can show his proper 
deed by which this may be testified, provided however that the deed 
is found enrolled in the full court of the city according to the custom of 
the city, then let the woman be excluded from her petition for ever. And 
in the same manner let all women be excluded from all kinds of their 
actions so far as claiming tenements after the death of their husbands 
in all pleas and plaints where such their proper deed can be set forth 
and verified against them. 

Chapter 13TH. 

Also a plea by Writ of Entry and by Writ of Trespass wheresoever 
it be in the King's Court whether in the Bench or elsewhere in that 
court either [by] summons or by attachment let the City Court always 

' Actions to obtain possession of lands alleged to be wrongfully occupied by another. 

Selected Records of the City of Norivich. 149 

semper petatur curia ciuitatis'-. Et cum loquele eisdem ciuibus 
per eorum attoniatum sint liberate* sit tunc placitum inter partes 
in curia ciuitatis deductum et fiat unicuique in eadem secundum 
formam breuium predictorum et querelas querelancium Ita quod 
nullus habet necesse per defectum iusticie alibi suum querere 
remedium. Et quia conciues illius ciuitatis sepius ad graue 
dampnum ipsorum in Inquiscionibus et Juratis ad curiam domini 
Regis labor bus ct expensis multipliciter fatigantur per huiusmodi 
placita decetero sit iit hactenus fieri consueuit quod curia ciuitatis 
in omni placito petatur in curia domini Regis. Et sumptus qui 
necessario ad hoc debent apponi leuentur de illis partibus 
dcfendenttbus si iiabeant unde pro illis laboribus et expensis 
vitandis et adquietandis Et si non habeant unde sumptus 
[iredi.cti poterunt leuari tunc leuentur et adquietentur de communi 
et per manus camerarii ciuitatis soluantur. 

Capitulum quartodecimum. 
Item placitum per breue quod" dicitur Replegiare" placitetur 

be claimed. And when the pleas are delivered to the said citizens by 
their attorney then let the plea between the parties be argued in the City 
Court and justice to each party be done in it according to the form of the 
aforesaid writs and the plaints of the complainants, so that none may have 
need by default of justice to seek his remedy elsewhere. And because the 
fellow-citizens of this city are oftentimes in Inquests and Juries at the court 
of the Lord King distressed with manifold labours and expenses by such 
pleas, henceforth let it be as heretofore it has been wont to be done that 
the City Court be claimed in every plea in the court of the Lord King. 
And the costs which ought of necessity to be laid thereon let them be 
levied from the parties defendant, if they have wherefrom, for avoiding and 
getting quit of those labours and expenses. And if they have not where- 
from the aforesaid costs can be levied then let them be levied and acquitted 
from the common [stock] and let them be paid by the chamberlain of 

the city. 

Chapter 14TH. 

Also a plea by writ which is called Replevin let it be pleaded in the 

1 Numerous instances of these claims being made on behalf of the local Court and 
allowed by the King's Judges at Westminster or elsewhere are recorded in the City Books. 
See No. CCXLI. The claim is there based on the Charters of 39 H. III. and 33 E. I. 
At an earlier time a clause of the Charter of R. I. was appealed to. No. CXVIII. 
(Portehors). ^ By the officials of the King's Court. 

■' An action to recover, on giving due security, goods alleged to have been 
wrongfully taken in distraint. See Pollock and Maitland, ii. 577. 

1 50 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

in curia ciuitatis per attachiamenta ut antiquitus fieri consueuit 
in eadem videlicet ad replegiandum aueria et catalla unde querela 
est per plegios sufficientes et iusticiabiles Balliiiis ciuitatis attachiata 
ad manucapienda de faciendo returnum si returnum adiudicetur. 
Et postea audiatur defencio captorum et ulterius procedat in forma 
legis. Et si partes litigantes in hac parte sint pares^ ciuitatis 
deducatur placitum inter eos de octauo in octauum diem. Et 
si par ciuitatis litigauerit cum forinseco ubi par ciuitatis sit ex 
parte petentis sine breui tunc procedatur de die in diem Et si 
per breue tunc de octauo in octauum diem et sciendum est quod 
si captor per primam districcionem se noluerit iusticiare adiudicetur 
super eum secunda et melior districcio quam prima Et si per 
secundum se noluerit iusticiare adiudicetur tercia que prevalebit 
duas precedentes et tunc premunietur ipse per duos seruientes 
bailiuorum juratos quod se attachiet et hoc testificent seruientes 
coram Balliuis et communitate. Et si tunc se noluerit iusticiare 
ille due districciones prima videlicet et secunda per fide dignos 
in plena curia apprecientur ef per contemptum illius se iustificare 
nolentis ad opus doinini Regis forisfacte sicut contra eum qui se 

City Court by attachments as of old has been wont to be done therein, 
to wit, to replevy goods and chattels whereof there is a plaint [let them be] 
attached to the Bailiffs of the city by sufficient and lawful pledges to be 
held on bail for making return if return is adjudged. And afterwards let 
the defence of the seizers be heard and further process be taken in 
form of law. And if the parties litigant in this manner be peers of 
the city let the plea between them be argued from 8 days to 8 days. 
And if a peer of the city is litigating with a foreigner, where the peer 
of the city is claimant without a writ then let process be taken from day to 
day and if by writ then from 8 days to 8 days and be it known that if the 
seizer will not justify himself by the first distraint there shall be adjudged 
upon him a second and better distraint than the first. And if he will not 
justify himself by the second let there be adjudged a third which shall 
overpass the two preceding, and then let him be warned by 2 sworn 
sergeants of the Bailiffs that he attach himself and this let the 
sergeants tesdfy before the Bailiffs and the Community. And if then he 
he will not justify himself let the two distraints, to wit the first and the 
second, be appraised by trustworthy men in full court and for his contempt 
in refusing to justify himself let them be forfeited to the use of the lord 

^ See post on chapter 36. 

Selected Records of the City of Nonvich. i 5 1 

contempiiit attachiare legi. Et postea distringatiir iilteiius de 
die in diem per omnia bona et catalla sua que liabet in ciuitate 
in quorumcunque manus poterunt inueniri quousque se velit 
iusticiare legi et eodem modo fiat de omni placito de debito et 
transgressione ubi partes debent venire in curiam per attachiamentum 
versus eos prosecutum. Ita quod equalis fiat iusticia omnibus tarn 
minoribus quani maioribus in omnibus per omnia nullo habito 
respectu ad cuiuscunque statum vel condicionem omni fauore 
cessante. Et in taiibus placitis habeant Balliui potestatem 
recipiendi attornatum querelantis post querelam attachiati et 
defendentis postquam se attacliiauerit ad respondendum queielanti 
in querela sua et ad standum Recto coram Balliuis ciuitatis. 

Capitulum quintodecimum. 

Item in placito ubi Essonium iacet et placitum illud sit per 
breue domini Regis in curia et aliquis se essoniet de malo 
veniendi'^ detur ei dies de octauo in octauum diem. Et de 
placito debiti qu.uido agitur in pares ciuitatis si placitum sit per 
breue eodem modo detur dies in Essonio et si de debito vel alio 
placito agatur sine breui inter pares detur dies in taiibus essoniis 

King as against one who has refused to attach himself to the law. And 
afterwards let him be distrained further from day to day by all his goods 
and chattels which he has in the city in whosesoever hands they may be 
found until he is willing to justify himself to the law. And in the same 
manner be it done concerning every plea of debt and trespass where the 
parties ought to come into court by attachment sued against them. So 
that equal justice may be done to all as well less as greater in all things by 
all things, no respect being had for any man's state or condition all favour 
ceasing. And in such pleas let the Bailiffs have power to receive the 
attorney of the complainant after the plaint when he has been attached 
and of the defendant after he has attached himself to answer the com- 
plainant in his plaint and to stand to right before the Bailiffs of the 


Chapter 15TH. 

Also in a plea where an essoin lies and the plea is by Writ of the 
lord King in the court and a man casts the essoin "de malo veniendi" 
let a day be given him from 8 days to 8 days. And concerning a plea 
of debt when action is taken against peers of the city if the plea be by 
writ let a day be given in an essoin in the same manner. And if of 

' The excuse that it is inconvenient to him to come, 

152 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

ad discrecionem et voluntatem Balliuorum et si defendens 
postquam sit attacliiatus de seruicio Regis^ per maliciam 
essonietur liabeat warantum suum ad diem sibi datum sirv autem 
vertatur sibi in defaltam et gjrauiter amercietur per Baliiuos 
nichiUoniinus respondeat ad placitum principale. 

Capitulum sextodecimum. 
Item de placito de nocumento ut de muro domo cloaca 
fossato et huiusmodi leuatis in ciuitate ad nocumentum liberi 
tenementi alicuius contra sic deliiiquentes procedatur per breue 
domini Regis per somonicionem et attaciiiamentuiii et per visum 
terre faciendum parti petenti et defendenti si petatur et omne 
tale nocumentum [quod] reperiatur esse perpetratum statim 
deponatur et emendetur per iudicium et per visum iuratorum 
inquisicione super iioc facienda vei alio modo secundum quod 
placitum sit in hac parte deductum inter partes illius placiii. 
Et pars petens recuperet dampna sua aduersus aduersarium suum. 
Et ille qui tale nocumentum fecit grauiter amercietur per Baliiuos 
pro sua transgressioiie et distringatur ille ad delendum illud 

debt or any other plea action is being taken without writ between peers 
let a day be given in such essoins at the discretion and will of the Bailiffs. 
And if the defendant after he has been attached maliciously casts the 
essoin " de servicio Regis " let him have his warrant at the day given him, 
but if it turn to his default let him be heavily amerced by the Bailiffs and 
none the less let him answer to the principal plea. 

Chapter i6th. 
Also concerning a plea of nuisance as by a wall house drain ditch 
and such like raised in the city to the nuisance of any man's free tene- 
ment, against such offenders let process be taken by writ of the lord 
King by summons and attachment and by view of the land had for the 
party claimant and for the defendant if it be claimed. And every such 
nuisance which may be found to have been committed let it be at once 
removed and amended by judgment and by view of sworn men by 
holding inquest thereon or in any other way according to the plea 
which in that behalf has been argued by the parties to the plea. And 
let the claimant recover his damages against his adversary. And let 
him who has done such nuisance be heavily amerced by the Bailiffs for 
his trespass and let him be distrained to abolish the nuisance. 
^ The excuse that he is engaged on the King's service. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 153 

Capitulum septimodecimum. 

Item in placito terre et tenementi quod placitetur in ciuitate 
secundum consuetudinem eiusdem quasi ad modum noue disseisine 
per vim friscam^ recenter factam ad prosecucionem querelantis 
capiatur statim terra vel tenementa in mann domini Regis et 
amoueatur per bailiuos vis et potestas ibidem invent'. Et si 
necesse fuerit associent sibi Halliui alios de communitate ad hoc 
faciendum. Et ille qui huiusmodi iiamsoken'' et abatiamentiim'' 
fecit in iiac parte attachietur ad respondendum querelanti ad 
certos diem et locum eisdem assignatos ad quos diem et locum 
somoniatur bona inquisicio de visneto illo in quo tenementum 
situatum est ad faciendum recognicionem inter partes placitantes 
si necesse fuit. Et si ille versus quem fit querela defaltam fecerit 
vel se attachiare noluerit capiatur nichillominus ad Inquisicionem 
in hac parte capiendam in eius defalta. Et tenementum sic in 
manu domini Regis captum querelanti vel defendenti secundum 
formam veredicti illius inquisicioiiis et curie consideracionem 

Chapter 17TH. 

Also in a plea of land or tenement which is pleaded in the city 
according to the custom thereof as in the manner of novel dis.seisin by 
fresh force recently done, at the suit of the complainant let the land 
or tenement be immediately seized into the hand of the lord King and 
let the force and power there found be amoved by the Bailiffs. And if 
need be let the Bailiffs associate with themselves others of the Community 
to do this. And he who has done such like hamsoken and intrusion let 
him in that behalf be attached to answer to the complainant at a certain 
day and place to him assigned. At which day and place let a good 
inquest be summoned from the neighbourhood in which the tenement 
is situated to take recognisance between the parties pleading, if need be. 
And it he against whom the complaint is made make default or refuse 
to attach himself let [the tenement] none the less be seized at the Inquest 
to be held in that behalf on his default. And let the tenement thus 
seized into the hand of the lord King be immediately restored to the 
complainant or defendant according to the form of the verdict of the 

1 An action to recover lands by a quick process instead of by the dilatory process of 
an Assize of Novel Disseisin. It was in use in certain cities and boroughs, and was void if 
not completed within 40 days. See No. CCXLIII., Pollock and Maitland, i. 644. It 
dealt with occupation, not ownership. 

2 Violent entry into a house or home. 

s Unlawful intrusion into a tenement vacant by death. 

1 54 Selected Records of the City of Norivich. 

statim reddatur. Et quandocunque tale placitum terre contigerit 
in ciuitate semper teiieatur de die in diem Ita quod infra xl dies 
termiiietur ultra quem diem et terminum Balliui inde nullam 
habeant [potestatem] modo predicto procedendi. 

Capitulum octauodecimum. 
Item quia tenementa in curia sunt placitanda laicalliteri in ilia 
ciuitate existencia per leges et consuetudines eiusdem sicut in 
ciuitate London^ fieri consuent ubi laica tenementa proiit in aliis 
ciuitatibus et Burgis regni est usitatum in testanientis sen ultimis 
dccedencium voluntatibus' libere poterunt legari et assignari sicut 
in antiquitate est usitatum in ciuitate Norwicensi fiant probaciones 
ultime voluntatis testament! vel assignacionis huiusmodi decedencium 
et huiusmodi tenementa laica in suis ultimis voluntatibus et 
testamentis legancium et assignancium coram Balliuis ciuitatis 
in plena curia eiusdem statim post probacionem facta m coram 
ordinario quo ad mobilia istius testameiUi. ha quod executor 
nullam de huiusmodi tenemento legato habeat administracionem 

inquest and the decision of the court. And whensoever such a plea 
chances to be held in the city let it always be held from day to day 
so that it be terminated within 40 days beyond which day and term the 
Bailiffs have no [power] of proceeding thereon in the manner aforesaid. 

Chapter i8th. 
Also because tenements existing in the city are to be pleaded in 
the court in a lay manner by the laws and customs of the same as they 
are wont to be done in the City of London where as in other cities and 
boroughs of the kingdom is used, lay tenements can freely be devised 
and assigned in testaments or last wills of those deceasing, as has been 
of old used in the city of Norwich, let probate of the last will testament 
or assignment of such persons deceasing and devising and assigning lay 
tenements in their last wills and testaments be made before the Bailiffs 
of the city in full court of the same, immediately after probate made 
of that testament before the ordinary so far as moveable goods, so that 
an executor may have no administration of a tenement so devised until 

' According to the mettiods of tlie civil and not of the ecclesiastical court. 

^ Sharpe, Calendar of IVitls^ etc., p. xxxv. 

J A " last will " referred lo a man's real estate, which was the " lay tenement " dealt 
with in the Court of the City. A "testament' referred to his personal property, of which 
probate was granted by the Ordinary in the Court of Chriatianity. The word 
"testament," however, is the one most frequently used in these documents. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 155 

donee probationes huiusmodi quo ad tenementa laica sic legata 
relicta seu assignata mode fiant predicto. Ita quod manifestentiir 
CLii et sub qua forma et condicione tenementum huiusmodi sic 
legatum vel relictum morari debeat. Et ut huiusmodi legatum 
de laico tenemento stabile permaneat in ilia ciuitate [illud legatum 
tangit laicum'] in communi rotulo cartarum ciuitatis irrotuletur 
tota clausula que facit mentionem in testamento de huiusmodi 
tenemento legato in eodem. Et probacio super hoc facta in 
dorso illius testamenti et per clericum balliuorum iuratum 
indorsetur ad modum cartarum. Et sciendum est quod tene- 
mentum descendens hereditarie alicui in ciuitate vel reuerti 
debens hereditarie non potest legari et si in facto legetur in 
testamento huiusmodi vel relinquatur alicui non habebit locum 
in preiudicium veri heredis illius testatoris. Set nichillominus si 
talis hereditas per verum heredem vendatur vel donetur alicui 
ille adquisitor libere poterit illud tenementum sibi adquisituni 
sicut cetera adquisita sua in eadem ciuitate vel eius suburbio 
in suo testamento legare vel assignare si velit. Et stabit et 
locum habebit illud legatum adeo stabile et firmum sine cuiusque 
impedimento semper in ilia ciuitate sicut de alio tenemento sibi 
adquisito in eadem. 

probate be made in manner aforesaid so far as the lay tenements so 
devised left or assigned. So that it may be made manifest to whom 
and under what form and condition such tenement so devised or left 
ought to remain. And that such a devise of a lay tenement may 
continue stedfast in the city let the whole clause which makes mention 
in the testament of such a tenement devised therein be enrolled in the 
common Roll of Deeds of the City. And let the probate made thereon 
be endorsed on the dorse of the testament by the sworn clerk of the 
Bailiflfe in the manner of charters. And it is to be known that a tenement 
descending hereditarily to any one in the city or that ought to revert 
hereditarily cannot be devised. And if in fact it be devised in such a 
testament or left to any one [the devise] shall not have place to the 
prejudice of the true heir of the testator. But none the less if such 
inheritance be by the true heir sold or granted to any one, the acquirer 
may freely in his testament devise or assign if he will the tenement 
acquired by him as his other acquired possessions in the city or its 
suburb. And that devise shall stand and have place as stedfast and 
firm for ever in the city without hindrance of any man as with any other 
tenement acquired by him in the same. 

1 These four words seem to be inserted in error. 

156 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Capitulum nonouecimum. 

Item mulier si habet tenementum ex adquisito suo in eadem 
ciiiitate antequam matrimonialiter viro sua sit copulata bene 
potest in iecto suo iiiortali vel aliter cum sibi placuerit illud 
tenementum sibi ut jjrius adquisitum in suo testamento libere 
lef^are cuicunque sibi placuerit de marito suo si non peperit 
ei post matrimonium inter eos contractum. Et si peperit eidem 
post contractiim inter eos solempnizatuin in facie ecclesie poterit 
illud Jegare Ita quod post mortem mariti sui remaneat legato- 
rio suo secundum formam testamenti sui dum tamen maritus 
suus cui peperit habeat inde commodum et usum in vita sua per 
curialitatem^ et consuetudinem Regni et ciuitatis illius et hoc 
sine aliquo vasto inde faciendo. Et similiter ista in iecto suo 
mortali vel in ultima sua voluntate in testamento suo legare 
marito suo heredibus et a.ssignatis imperpetuum vel ad terminum 
vite sue vel annorum et stabit illud testamentum in pace. 

Capitulum vicesimum. 
Item in casu ubi vir et uxor aliquod tenementum simul et 

Chapter iqth. 
Also a woman if she have a tenement of her own acquiring in the 
said city before she has consummated her marriage with her husband, 
has full power on her death bed or at other time when it pleases her 
to devise freely in her testament the tenement acquired by her as above 
to whomsoever it shall please her away from her husband if she has 
not borne him a child after matrimony contracted between them. And 
if she have borne him a child after the contract between them has been 
solemnized in the face of the church she may devise it, so that after the 
death of her husband there be remainder to her devisee according to the 
form of her testament, provided however that her husband to whom she 
has borne a child have the ease and use thereof in his life time by the 
Courtesy and Custom of the Realm and of this City and that without 
making any waste thereon. And in like manner she [may] on her deathbed 
or in her last will in her testament devise to her husband his heirs 
and assigns in perpetuity or to the term of his life or of years and that 
testament shall stand in peace. 

Chapter 20TH. 
Also in case where a man and his wife have together and conjointly 
1 The husband in this case was said to holl his hfe-estale by " courtesy of England." 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 5 7 

coniunctim sibi adquisiuerunt illis et heredibus et assignatis suis 
in eadem ciuitate el maritus illius mulieris in sua ultima voluntate 
de assensu et consensu illius uxoris sue ut premittitur cum eodem 
coniuncte in huiusmodi tenemento adquisito faciat inde testa- 
mentum suum et illud tenementum coniunctim adquisitum in suo 
testamento legauerit eideni uxon sue terminando [Ptenendo] ad 
terminum vite sue Ita quod post eius uxoris decessum prefatum 
tenementum per idem testamentum remaneat alicui legalorio suo 
et eius heredibus de corpore exeuntibus Ita quod nisi iiabeiit 
exitum de corpore suo legittimum predicUim tenementum post 
illius tenentis et testatoris decessum vendetur et preciuin inde 
proueniens per executores suos fiat pro ipsis viro et uxore sua 
in pios usus si ita sit quod uxor ad illud testamentum consenserit 
et illud ratificauerit post mariti sui decessum vel si fuerit eius 
executrix vel alio modo de quo doceri poterit illud testamentum 
in hoc ratum habuerit extunc excludatur ipsa a feodo seu 
tenemento sic coniunctim adquisito cuin viro suo prenominato 
et extunc sit ipsa contenta legato suo predicto. Et si processu 
temporis ipsa velit consensum suum et ratificacionem suam in 
preinissis negare vel contradicere et velit se tenere ad primam 
adquiscionem suam simul cum marito suo in hac parte lactam 

acquired to them and their heirs and assigns a tenement in the said 
city and the husband of the woman in his last will with assent and 
consent of his wife, conjoined with him as is premised in such acquired 
tenement, makes his testament thereon and in his testament shall have 
devised the tenement conjointly purchased to his said wife to hold for 
the term of her life so that after the wife's decease the aforesaid 
tenement by the said testament should remain to some devisee of his 
and to his heirs from his body issuing, so that if he [the devisee] have 
no lawful issue of his body the aforesaid tenement after the decease of 
the testator's tenant should be sold and the price accruing therefrom 
should by the executors be put to pious uses for the said husband and 
his wife, if so be that the wife consented to that testament and ratified it 
after her husband's decease or if she was his executrix or in any other 
way by which knowledge may be had she has ratified the testament 
in this matter let her thenceforth be excluded from the fee or tenement 
so conjointly purchased with her aforementioned husband, and thenceforth 
let her be content with his [? their] devise. And if in process of time 
she wishes to deny or contradict her consent and her ratilication in the 
above matters and wishes to hold to her first acquisition made together 

158 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

et retinere tenementum illud sic legatum de assensu suo contra 
formam testamenti et suum propiium consensum et si inueniatiir 
illius mulieris consensus irrotulatus in communi regesto ciuitatis 
scilicet in communi rotulo cartarum tunc excludatur ipsa in 
pei-petuum nisi tantum quod illud teneat in vita sua. Et nullo 
modo poterit ipsa illud tenementum in testamento viri sui de 
consensu ipsius uxoris ut premittitur legatum et ut predicitur 
simul adinquisitum contra formam testamenti viri cui consenserit 
nunquam legare nee alio quouismodo distrahere vel alienare. Et 
si cecus fecerit nullum teneat robur firmitatis. 

Capitulum vicesimum primum. 

Item casu quo ille vel ilia cui tenementum in testamento 
alicuius secundum ciuitatis consuetudinem legetur seu etiam 
relinquatur post mortem testatoris et post probacionem factam 
de huiusmodi testamento vel testatoris ultima voluntate illud 
tenementum debent retinere virtute testamenti illius habent 
accionem ad petendum cartam feofamenti unde testator vel 
testatrix coniunctim et divisim fueiunt feoffati. Et hoc per breue 
domini Regis de liberacione cartarum si relicta defuncti vel eius 

with her husband in this behalf and retain the tenement so devised with 
her assent contrary to the form of the testament and her own proper 
consent and if the woman's consent be found enrolled in the common 
register of the city, to wit, the common Roll of Charters, then let her 
be excluded for ever save only that she hold it in her lifetime. And in 
no wise may she ever devise or in any other way divert or alienate the 
tenement devised in the testament of her husband with her consent as 
is premised and acquired together as is aforesaid contrary to the form 
of the testament of her husband to which she consented. And if she 
shall have done otherwise let it have no strength of fixity. 

Chapter 2ist. 

Also in the case where he or she to whom a tenement is devised 
in a man's testament according to the custom of the city or even left, 
after the testator's death and after probate made of such testament or 
last will of the testator, ought to retain the tenement, they may have an 
action to demand the deed of feofment whereby the testator or testatrix 
conjointly or severally were enfeoffed and that by writ of the lord King 
'' De liberacione cartarum" [concerning delivery of deeds] if the widow 

Selected Records of I he City of Norwich. 159 

executor eandem cartam nolu-erit liberare dumtameii poterit 
constare scu doceri quod dicta carta post testatoris vel testatricis 
decessuin penes uxorem vel executorem lemanseiit. Et cum 
huiusinodi carta in curia ciuitatis ostendatur coram balliuis 
eiusdem examinetur ipse qui cartam petit an habeat exitum de 
corpore suo libere procreatum secundum [condicionem] testamenti 
vel non. Et si habeat exitum talem tunc liberetur ei carta sine 
aliqua contradiccione dum condicio testamenti ad hoc plene 
inueniatur et si non habeat exitum de se ut premiltitur ponatur 
carta ilia de communi assensu in communi cista ciuitatis quousque 
talis legatus exitum habeat legittimum de se procreatum et hoc 

Capitulum vicesimum secundum. 

Item si contingat quod talis legaturus^ decedit sine exitu de 
se libere exeunte et executores testamenti illius testatoris qui 
sub tali condicione tenementum suum legauerit sublati siiit de 
medio per ordinacionem bailiuor'um et aliorum bonorum hominum 
de ciuitate [et] tenementum sic legatum sub condicione predicta 

of the deceased or his executor has refused to dehver the said deed. 
Provided however that it can be proved or shown that the said deed 
after the decease of the testator or testatrix remained in possession of 
the wife or the executor. And when such a deed is shown in the 
court of the city before the BaihfFs of the same let him who demands 
the deed be examined whether he have issue of his body freely 
begotten according to the [condition of the] testament or not. And if 
he have such issue then let the deed be delivered to him without any 
contradiction provided the condition of the will to that end is fully 
found, and if he have no issue of himself as is premised let the deed 
be placed by common assent in the common chest of the city until the 
devisee have lawful issue of himself begotten and that be proved. 

Chapter 2 2nd. 

Also if it happen that such a devisee decease without issue from 
himself freely issuing let the executors of the will of the testator who 
under such condition has devised his tenement as is aforesaid be 
removed from the midst by order of the Bailiffs and, other good men of 
the city, [and] let the tenement thus devised under the aforesaid 

1 Perhaps meant for " legatarius," legatee. 

1 60 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

libeietLir proximo heredi illius testatoris et si heredem non 
liabiierit proximo de sanguine illius testatoris per certum precium 
valore lenementi illius et hoc per boiiam securitatem ad faciendum 
illud precium fideliter per visum et discrecionem bonorum 
liominum ad hoc electorum infra certum tempus per balliuos et 
alios de curia discretes limitandum in certos usus pios couvertendum 
secundum arbitrium et ordiuacionem Balliuurum et aliorum ad 
hoc electorum. Ita quod sciatur pro certo quod huiusmodi 
precium fiat pro anima illius testatoris si ipse heres vei proximus 
de sanguine^ illius testatoris [capiet] illud tenementum ad tale 
precium in forma predicta et si nolit offeratur et liberetur domino 
feodi in forma memorata. Et [si] idem dominus illud in forma 
ilia nolit aduiittere ordinentur venditor et dispositor huiusmodi 
tenemenli legali et precii eiusdem per assensuin communem 
ordmarii loci curie [Pcorain] quo testamentum probatum fuerit 
et eciam Balliuorum ciuitatis qui pro tempore fueiint et aliorum 
ad hoc in hac parte electorum Ita quod aliquo modo in utilitate 
anime testatoris conuertatur. 

condition de delivered to the next heir of the testator or if he have no 
heir to the next of blood to the testator for a certain price [according to] 
the value of the tenement and that by good security for making that 
price faithfully by view and discretion of good men chosen for that 
purpose within a certain time limited by the Bailiffs and other discreet 
men of the court to be converted to certain pious uses according to 
the judgment and order of the Bailiffs and others chosen for that purpose. 
So that it may be known for certain that such a price be used for the 
soul of the testator if the heir himself or the next in blood to the 
testator take the tenement at such a price in form aforesaid. And if he 
refuse let it be offered .and delivered to the lord of the fee in the 
aforesaid form. And [if] the said lord refuse to take it in the aforesaid 
form let a vendor and manager of the tenement so devised and of its 
price be appointed by common assent of the Ordinary of the place 
before whom the testament was proved and also of the Bailiffs of the 
city for the time being and of others thereto chosen in this behalf, so 
that in some manner it may be converted to the benefit of the testator's 

' It appears from this chapter and others that there was a recognition in Norwich of 
the rights known as "droit de retrait Ugnager " (rightof pre-emption on the part of the 
late possessor's kin) and "droit de retrait feodal " (such right on the part of the lord). The 
former is allowed the first claim. The same custom obtained in Nottingham and 
Northampton. See Pollock and Maitland, Hist. Eng. Law, i. 344, 647 ; Records of 
Northampton, i. 460. The " capitalis dominus feodi " is constantly mentioned in the City 
Court Enrolments, but in a formal manner as of a person unknown. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich . 1 6 1 

Capitulum vicesimum tercium. 
Item [cum] tenementum sit coniunctim inadquisitum per virum 
et uxorem suam in ciuitate si vir de consensu uxoris sue et de 
eius voiuntate legauerit in facto suo tale tenementum sic coniunctim 
adquisitum ad vendendum per executores suos et inde faciendum 
precium pro anima sua si ipsa uxor post mortem illius viri sui 
habeat ratum factum eiusdem in huiusmodi legato sine sit executrix 
siue non et suus consensus coram Balliuis in plena curia super hoc 
audiatur ilia concessio et talis consensus irrotuletur in rotulo de 
recognicionibus cartarum et postea iniungatur eidem mulieri 
quod ipsa liberet cartas et instrumenta quas et que inde 
penes se habet seu poterint inueniri executoribus viri sui 
predicti. Et si ipsa huiusmodi cartas seu instrumenta prefata 
executoribus liberare recuset seu nolit excludatur ipsa totaliter 
de omnibus sibi in dicto testamento relictis seu legatis quoquo 
modo quantum ad tenementum in eodem testamento sibi legato 
quousque illas seu ilia eisdem executoribus liberauerit. Et nullus 
qui tenet tenementum ex legato tantum ad terminum vite 
vel annorum illud quoquo modo ultra terminum sibi legatum 
vendere legare dimittere vel assignare vel aliqualiter alienare poterit 

Chapter 23RD. 
Also [when] a tenement has been conjointly acquired by a man 
and his wife in the city if the husband with the consent of his wife and 
of her will has devised by his deed such a tenement thus conjointly 
acquired to be sold by his executors and a price made thereof for his 
soul, if the said wife after the death of her husband have ratified his 
deed in such a devise, whether she is executrix or not, and her consent 
is heard before the Bailiffs in full court thereupon, let that concession 
and such consent be enrolled in the Roll of Acknowledgments of 
Deeds and afterwards let such woman be enjoined to deliver the deeds 
and instruments which she has thereon in her possession or can be 
found to the executors of her husband aforesaid. And if she refuse 
or is unwiUing to deliver to the executors such deeds or instruments 
aforesaid let her be totally excluded from all things in any way left or 
devised to her in the said testament so far as relates to the tenement 
devised in the said testament until she has delivered them to the 
executors. And no one who holds a tenement by devise to the term 
of life or years only may in any way sell devise lease or assign or in 
any way whatever alienate the tenement beyond the term for which 
it is devised to him contrary to the form contained in the testament. 


1 62 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

contra formam in testamento contentam. Quod si cecus actum 
fueiit illud omnino careat effectum [sic] et pro non facto habeatur. 
Et talis legati tenement! vendicio dimissio vel assignacio vol 
alienacio nullius sit momenti. 

Capitulum vicesimum quartum. 

Item quia quidam multociens se fortunant et propria temeri- 
tate ac voluntarie se ponunt in terras et tenementa in ciuitate 
adquisita sou legata in testamentis adquirencium ilia seu 
assignata vel data prout bene licet cuilibet in ciuitate 
predicta adquirenti facere secundum ipsius ciuitatis antiquam 
et optentam consuetudinem pacificam et quietam et tales 
huiusmodi fortunantes se inde clamant ius hereditarium habere 
per successionem hereditariam vel alio modo ad querelam executoris 
illius testatoris qui dictum tenementum adquisiuit et illud in 
testamento legauit dedit reliquit vel assignauit per vadium et 
plegium in forma placiti hamsokne et abbatiamenti tenementum 
illud capiatur per Balliuos in manum domini Regis et ille qui se 
intrusit attachietur ad respondendum ad cerium diem sibi assign- 
atum. Ad quem diem ostendatur testamentum in curia quatenus 
contingit illud laicum tenementum in testamento legatum relictum 

And if it has been done otherwise let it altogether lack effect and be 
held as not done. And the sale lease or assignment or alienation of 
such a devised tenement let it be of no moment. 

Chapter 24TH. 

Also because certain persons many times adventure themselves 
and of their own rashness and of their own will put themselves into 
lands and tenements in the city acquired or devised in the testaments ot 
those who acquired them or assigned or given as is fully lawful for 
every one to do who acquires such in the city according to the ancient 
and prevailing custom of the said city peacably and quietly, and such 
like adventurers claim to have hereditary right of them by hereditary 
succession or in some other way, at the complaint of the executor of the 
testator, who acquired the said tenement and devised gave left or 
assigned it in his testament, by wed and pledge in form of a plea of 
hamsoken and intrusion let it be seized by the Bailiffs into the hand of 
the lord King and let him who has intruded be attached to answer at 
a certain day assigned to him. At which day let the testament be 
shown in court so far as it touches the lay tenement devised left given 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 163 

datum seu assignatum memorato. Et [si] ille intrusor non potent 
racionabiliter monstrare ad dictum diem vel ad alium assignatum 
ad quern diem ostendatur testamentum in plena curia quod 
dictum testamentum in tali casu eciam in tali puncto locum tenere 
non debet tenementum predictum sic in manu domini Regis 
captum executori illius testament! statim liberetur et reddatur 
per iudicium et consideracionem curie ciuitatis ad inde 
perficiendum voluntatem testatoris ultimam et testament! sui 
formam. Et nichillominus ille intrusor per Balliuos grauiter 
amercietur pro sua transgressione et reddat dampna. 

Capitulum vicesimum quintum. 
Item quia quandoque carte recognite in curia ciuitatis 
per mulierem una cum marito suo quando dant seu vendunt 
aliquod tenementum suum coniunctim adquisitum indorsantur et 
non irrotulantur in rotulis qui debent remanere in thesauria ciuitatis 
secundum antiquam [consuetudinem] et leges in eadem usitatas 
que quidem indorsamenta et irrotulaciones in dicta ciuitate locum 
tenent et habent ut finis^ in curia domini Regis leuatus clericus 

or assigned in the said testament. And if the intruder shall not be 
able to show reasonably at the said day or at another day assigned, 
at which the testament may be shown in full court, that the said 
testament in such case, even in such point, ought not to have place, 
let the aforesaid tenement so seized into the hand of the lord King be 
immediately delivered and rendered to the executor of the testament by 
the judgment and decision of the city court, for the carrying out 
therefrom of the last will of the testator and the form of his testament. 
And none the less let the intruder be heavily amerced by the Bailiffs 
for his trespass and let him render damages. 

Chapter 25TH. 

Also because sometimes deeds acknowledged in the court of the city 
by a woman together with her husband when they give or sell some 
tenement of theirs conjointly acquired are endorsed and not enrolled 
in the Rolls which ought to remain in the Treasury of the city 
according to the ancient [custom] and laws used in the same, which 
endorsements and enrolments in the said city hold and have place as 
a fine levied in the court of the lord King, the sworn Clerk of the 

1 The legal term for a Final Agreement after a fictitious action. The agreement 
being made by license of the Court was enrolled, and, the court being a Court of 
Record, could not afterwards be traversed. (See the case of John Page, &c., No, 

1 64 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Balliuorum iuratus oneretur per iuramentum suum in casu pres- 
tandum semel in anno quod ipse clericus nullam cartam talem 
indorsabit nisi mulier quam negocium contingit presens sit in 
curia [et] per Balliuos eiusdem examinetur de sua mera voluntate 
et assensu suo non coactis in hac parte. Et si voluntas sua 
mera et consensus suus gratuitus reperiantur interuenisse et ipsa 
talem recognicionem' fecerit coram Balliuis in examinacione predicta 
in plena curia tunc indorsetur carta et irrotuletur in curia et non 
alibi extra theolonium. Et quod idem clericus illas cartas bene 
et fideliter indorsabit et irrotulabit ut predictum est Et pro 
indorsamento cuiuslibet carte capiet clericus ad minus iiii denarios 
et pro irrotulacione duos solidos nisi plus sibi offeretur. Et quod 
nullam cartam sic recognitam negabit nee recusabit indorsare 
et irrotulare. Et Rotuli huiusmodi recognicionum quolibet anno 
ad festum sancti Michaelis ponantur in communi cista ciuitatis 
ibidem saluo custodiendi Ita quod quandocunque habeatur aliqua 
hesitacio super premissis ibidem citius poterint inueniri et eis qui 
indigent subuenire. 

Bailiffs should be charged, by his oath to be tendered in such case once 
in the year, that the said clerk shall endorse no such deed unless the 
woman whom the business touches be present in court and be by 
the Bailiffs of the same examined concerning her mere will and assent 
not being forced in that matter. And if her mere will and voluntary 
assent be found to have intervened and she has made such an 
acknowledgment before the Bailiffs in the aforesaid examination in full 
court then let the deed be endorsed and enrolled in court and not 
anywhere else outside the Tolhouse. And the said clerk shall well and 
faithfully endorse those deeds as is aforesaid. And for the endorsement 
of every deed the clerk shall receive at least four pence and for the 
enrolment two shillings unless more shall be offered him. And he shall 
not deny nor refuse to endorse or enroll any deed so acknowledged. 
And let the Rolls of such acknowledgments every year at the feast of 
St. Michael be placed in the common chest of the city there to be safely 
kept, so that whenever any hesitation is had upon the said matters there 
they may the more quickly be found and help given to those who 
need it. 

1 The enrolments shew that this requirement was strictly carried out. But there 
is no trace of old rolls being laid up at Michaelmas and new rolls beginning with new 
Bailiffs as the last clause of this chapter seems to imply. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 165 

Item in placito debiti inter pares Ciuitatis ad quantamcunque 
porcionem seu quantitatem debitum petitum se extendat siue sit 
plus siue minus statim postquam petens querelam suam attachiauerit 
de prosequendo eandem somoniatur debitor ad respondendum 
crastino die sequent! post querelam attachiatam sine allocacione 
aliqua cuiuscunque quantitatis debiti petiti. Et si debitor veniat 
ad diem suum per summonicionem et libertatem suam alleget 
attachiet se statim ad respondendum et habeat diem octauum. Et 
nisi venerit ad diem suum per summonicionem sibi factam fiat 
super eum districcio. Et si ad primam districcionem se attachiauerit 
et libertatem suam allegauerit detur ei octauus dies sicut prius ad 
respondendum. Et si per maliciam ad differendum querelantem 
permittat fieri -super eum tres districciones antequam se velit 
attachiare incurrat penam districcionum prius in placito replegiare 
contentam in capitulo xiiii° pro suo contemptu. Et nichillominus 
distringatur de die in diem per quantum poterit distringi quousque 
se attachiauerit. Et quilibet ciuis illius ciuitatis sit ad legem^ suam 
in placito debiti quando sine scripto vel tallia implacitatur. Et si 

Chapter 26th. 

Also in a plea of debt between peers of the city, to whatsoever 
portion or quantity the debt sued for extends whether it be more or less, 
immediately after the petent has attached his plaint for prosecuting the 
same let the debtor be summoned to answer on the morrow after the 
plaint has been attached, without any allowance of any quantity 
whatsoever of the debt sued for. And if the debtor come at his day by 
summons and allege his freedom let him attach himself immediately to 
answer and let him have the eighth day. And if he does not come at 
his day by summons made to him let a distraint be made upon him. 
And if he has attached himself at the first distraint and alleged his 
freedom let the eighth day be given to him as before to answer. And 
if by malice to put off the complainant he permits three distraints to be 
made upon him before he is willing to be attached let him incur the 
penalty of distraints contained above in the plea of Replevin in Chapter 
14th for his contempt. And none the less let him be distrained from day 
to day to the utmost he can be distrained until he has attached himself. 
And let every citizen of the city be at his law in a plea of debt when he 
is impleaded without a writing or a tally. And if the petent proffer or 

^ See p. 145, n. 2. 

1 66 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

petens proferat seu exhibeat talliam de debito petito probetur ilia 
tallia et si suspeccio habeatur de huiusmodi tallia ostensa bene 
examinetur per se et singillatim et si testes iurati in aliquo discordent 
vel vacillent maxima in substantialibus requisitionibus per quod 
maior suspeccio inde reperiatur tunc ilia tallia tanquam falsa 
reiciatur et pro nullo habeatur et recedat pars defendens quieta. 
Et videant Balliui vel eorum locum tenentes quod talis examinacio 
fiat in premissis in animarum suarum periculo. 

Capitulum vicesimum septimum. 

Item in placito debiti quando inter parem ciuitatis et forinsecum 
deducatur in iudicio^ per breue domini Regis vel sine breui habeat 
ille qui est par ciuitatis suam probacionem^ ad probandum debitum 
suum versus forinsecum. Et ille conciuis sit in sua defensione 
ad legem suam versus forinsecum si aliquid petierit ab eodem 
si legem vadiare et perficere voluerit secundum leges et antiquas 
consuetudines illius ciuitatis ab antique usitatas et probatas in 

exhibit a tally for the debt sued let the tally be proved and if suspicion 
is had concerning such a tally shown let it be well examined [by sworn 
witnesses] by themselves and singly and if the sworn witnesses disagree 
in anything or hesitate especially in substantial demands whereby greater 
suspicion is found thereon then let the tally be rejected as false and 
held for naught and let the defendant depart quit. And let the 
Bailiffs or their deputies see that such examination is made in 
the above matters at the peril of their souls. 

Chapter 27TH. 

Also in a plea of debt between a peer of the city and a foreigner 
when it is being argued in judgment by writ of the lord King or without 
a writ let him who is a peer of the city have his proof for proving his 
debt towards the foreigner. And let the said fellow-citizen be in his 
defence at his law against the foreigner if he claims anything from 
him, if he wishes to wage and carry out law, according to the laws and 
ancient customs of the city of old used and approved therein. 

1 When the final issue is before the Court (?). 

2 Have the benefit of his credit. His word or oath may stand for proof against 
a foreigner. So, in defending himself, he may wage his law (take an oath) ; whether 
single-handed or supported by oath-helpers is doubtful. In London six were required 
{Lib. Alb., p. 25). 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 167 

Capitulum vicesimum octauum. 
Item bene liceat conciui ilHus ciuitatis per se attachiare 
debitorem infra ciuitatem inuentum et ab eo fugientem ubi non 
habet prope Balliuum^ et illud attach! amentum in potestate 
Balliuorum indilate adducere et tunc attachiet se Balliuo de prose- 
quendo versus eundem debitorem suum ita quod non retineat 
illud attachiamentum a potestate Balliuorum penes se quoquomodo 
ulterius quam habere poterit et si contingat ipsum conciuem dictum 
attachiamentum retinere penes se contra formam predictam et 
debitor suus sibi satisfecerit et ille conciuis cum sit sibi satisfactum 
liberet dictum attachiamentum debitori suo sine assensu Balliui 
et super hoc conuincatur grauiter amercietur quia se fecit iudicem 
et partem in causa propria. 

Capitulum vicesimum nonum. 
Item in casu ubi uxor alicuius ceperit ex accomodato bona 
vicini sui conciuis illius ciuitatis sine vadio^ vel cum vadio prefer 
scienciam viri sui respondeat idem vir de bonis accomodatis uxori 

Chapter 28th. 

Also let it be fully lawful to a fellow-citizen of the city by himself 

to attach a debtor found within the city and fleeing from him, where he 

has not a Bailiff near, and to bring the attachment without delay into 

the power of the Bailiffs and then let him attach himself to a Bailiff 

for prosecuting against his said debtor, so that he does not retain the 

attachment from the power of the Bailiffs in his own possession in any 

way beyond the time when he can have [remedy]. And if it happen 

that the fellow-citizen retain the attachment in his own possession 

contrary to the aforesaid form and his debtor satisfies him and the 

fellow-citizen when he is satisfied delivers the attachment to his debtor 

without the assent of a Bailiff and be convicted thereof let him be heavily 

amerced because he has made himself judge and party in his own 


Chapter 29TH. 

Also in a case where a man's wife has received goods on loan 
from a neighbour, a fellow citizen of the city, without a gage or with a 
gage beyond the knowledge of her husband let the said husband 

1 This must be one of the four " principal" Bailiffs. One was elected for each great 
Leet, and would seem, therefore, to have had power to take separate action in some 
matters in his own district. 

2 Something taken by way of security. 

1 68 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

sue in eius absencia dum tamen idem vir et uxor sua bene se 
habeant adinuicem videlicet quod huiusmodi viri uxor tempore 
quo dicta bona receperit cohabitet cum marito vel seorsum de 
ipsius assensu et voluntate et quod publicum sit et manifestum 
de honesto gestu uxoris predicte et quod fraudulenter nee malo 
modo se diuertat a marito suo propria temeritate siue sinistra 
[vel] austera fugacione mariti sui per maliciam ipsius viri et non 
per demerita inhonesta illius uxoris nee quod ipsa se diuerterit 
causa malignandi in quo casu si hec potuerunt verificari non 
teneatur maritus compelli talia bona sic capta reddere. Et 
caueant sibi huiusmodi creditores quod sine consensu mariti 
huiusmodi mulieres sic malo modo se diuertentes quicquam 
accomodant nisi tantummodo eorum periculo. 

Capitulum tricesimum. 

Item in omnibus placitis placitandis in ciuitate per attachia- 

mentum si districcio in ciuitate poterit inueniri super eum versus 

quem sit querelandum et ille sit par uille vel extraneus vel in 

casu se elongans a ciuitate vel habeatur suspicio quod occasione 

answer for the goods lent to his wife in his absence, provided however 
that the said husband and his wife are on good terms together, to wit 
that such a man's wife when she received the said goods was cohabiting 
with her husband, or apart from him with his assent and will and that 
it is public and manifest concerning the honest conduct of the said 
wife and that she is separate from her husband not fraudulently or in 
evil mode by her own boldness, or [that it is] from sinister and harsh 
driving away on the part of her husband by the husband's own malice 
and not from the dishonest demerits of the wife and that she has not 
separated herself to do mischief, in which case if these things can be 
proved let the husband not be held and compelled to restore such 
goods so received. And let such creditors take heed to themselves 
that without the consent of such husband they lend nothing to women 
in such evil manner separating themselves, save at their own peril 

Chapter 30TH. 

Also in pleading all pleas in the city by attachment if a distraint 
can be found in the city upon him against whom the plaint lies and he 
be a peer of the vill or a stranger, if perchance he is absent from the 
city or suspicion is had that by occasion of that plaint he is desiring 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 69 

illius querela se velit gratis absentare ante responsionem factam 
querelanti illud attachiamentum et teneatur et si plegiis dimitti 
debeat aprecietur et sub hac forma eisdem plegiis liberetur videlicet 
quod ille cuius plegii erunt non stet recto ad totam querelam petentis 
ad complendum iudiciura quod inde sequetur liberetur ilia districcio 
per idem precium prefatis plegiis suis. Et caueaut sibi tales plegii 
in hoc casu quod ille cuius sint plegii non faciat defaltam quam 
si fecit ipsi plegii respondebunt querelanti de precio districcionis 
in hac parte facte et eis liberate adeo plene quam si totum placitum 
fuisset inter eos placitatum et ille cuius sunt plegii de tota querela 
fuisset conuictus. Et nichillominus grauiter amercientur quia non 
habuerunt ipsum cuius plegii fuerunt in hac parte. 

Capitulum tricesimum primum. 
Item in casu ubi aliquis implacitando allegat contractum vel 
transgressionem fuisse factum in foro ut sic excludat aduersarium 
suum de lege sua^ et pro habendo fauorabilem inquisitionem de alio 

to absent himself of his own accord before making answer to the 
complainant, let the attachment be retained and if it has to be committed 
to pledges let it be appraised and under this form delivered to the said 
pledges, to wit, that, [if] he whose pledges they shall be does not stand 
to right to the whole plaint of the petent, to fulfil the judgement which 
shall follow thereon, the distraint be delivered to his aforesaid pledges 
at the said price. And let such pledges take heed to themselves in this 
case that he whose pledges they are do not make default, the which 
if he does the said pledges shall answer to the complainant concerning 
the price of the distraint in this behalf made and delivered to them, as 
fully as if the whole plea had been pleaded between [? against] them 
and he whose pledges they are had been convicted of the whole plaint. 
And none the less let them be heavily amerced because they had not 
him whose pledges they were in this behalf 

Chapter 31ST. 

Also in a case where a man in pleading alleges a contract or a 
trespass to have been made "in the market" in order to thus exclude 
his adversary from his law and to have a favourable inquest from 

' From this and the last clause it would appear that waging the law (by oath) was 
not admissible in the case of offences committed in the market. A summary Pie-powder 
Court is said to have been held at the time of the markets. See No. XLV., No. 
CCCII., and B'lomefield, III., 151, 

1 70 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

visneto quam de illo ubi factum fuit commissum si defendens 
velit contraiere et dicere quod non in foro admittatur ad 
verificandum hoc si querelans hoc velit exspectare et si per 
inquisicionem inde factam reperiatur vel per confessionem 
partis quod non in foro querelans sit in misericordia pro 
falsa querela sua et nichillominus per novum placitum in 
sui natura^ habeat ille petens suum recuperare per legem et 
per nouam inquisicionem de visneto illo ubi commissum fuerit 
perpetratum si ulterius prosequi velit. Et similiter fiat super 
cayum piscale et similiter de contractu vel transgressione factis 
in foro si partes cadant in inquisicionem capiatur ilia inquisicio 
per homines de foro. Et si alibi in ciuitate per illos de visneto 
illo capiatur et hoc semper observetur. Et si compertum sit con- 
tractum seu commissum in foro fuisse perpetratum faciat querelans 
sectam suam infra xv dies proximo sequentes. Et si ulterius 
exspectauerit et non fuerit prosecutus sit defendens ad legem suam 
si velit non obstante quod forum nominetur in querela sua. 

Capitulum tricesimum secundum. 
Item in casu ubi aliquis vendat aliquem redditum assisse'^ in 

another venue than that where the deed was committed, if the 
defendant wishes to say in contravention that it was not "in the 
market," let him be admitted to verify this if the complainant is willing 
to wait for it, and if by inquest made thereon or by confession of the 
party it be found that it was not in the market let the complainant be 
in mercy for his false plaint and none the less by a new plea of its 
kind let the patent have his recovery by law and by a new inquest 
from the venue where the offence was committed if he wishes to 
prosecute further. And in like manner let it be done upon the fish 
quay and in like manner concerning contract or trespass done in the 
market, if the parries fall to inquest let the inquest be taken by men 
of the market. And if elsewhere in the city let it be taken by others 
of that venue and let this always be observed. And if it be found 
that a contract or a deed was done in the market let the complainant 
make his suit within 15 days next following. And if he has waited 
longer and has not prosecuted let the defendant be at his law if he 
wishes, notwithstanding that the market was named in his plaint. 

Chapter 32ND. 
Also in a case where a man sells a rent of assize in the city 

1 Of the kind proper to the case. 

''■ A rent assessed or fixed, not variable as a rent payable in kind. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 7 1 

ciuitate ilia prouenientem de aliquo tenemento in aliena tenencia 
existente quam sua propria, quia ille nouus emptor suam inde plenam 
seisinam habere non potest sine illo qui tenet solum unde redditus 
ille procedit quando carta feoffamenti vel assignamenti in hoc casu 
secundum consuetudinem dicte ciuitatis lecta sit et recognita 
in plena curia coram Balliuis eiusdem curie in presencia emptoris 
et venditoris vel attornati ipsius emptoris per aliquem sub-balliuum 
dictorum Balliuorum iuratum mandetur ille tenens illius tenementi 
unde dictus redditus venditus procedere dicitur si emptor hoc 
petat quod ipse tenens statim veniat in curia coram eisdem Balliuis. 
Et si venit ille tenens petatur ab eo per dictos Balliuos si tenementum 
predictum sit de feodo seu dominio venditoris vel eidem venditor! 
de redditu tali vendito quoquomodo oneratum vel tempore illius 
vendicionis reddere [consuetum] fuit. Et [si] ille tenens ilia 
cognoscat iniungatur illi per eosdem Balliuos quod incontinentim 
de dicto redditu reddendo dicto emptori sit extunc intendens^ 
secundum formam carte super hoc facte. Ita quod ille emptor tani 
plenum habeat statum in illo redditu recipiendo et de dominio 

issuing out of a tenement being in another's tenancy than his 
own, because the new purchaser cannot have his full seisin thereof 
without him who holds the soil wherefrom the rent proceeds, when 
the deed of feoffinent or assignment in this case according to the 
custom of the said city is read and acknowledged in full court 
before the Bailiffs of the court in the presence of the purchaser 
and vendor or the attorney of the said purchaser by one of the sworn 
subbailiffs of the said Bailiffs, let the tenant of the said tenement where- 
from the said rent sold is said to proceed, be sent for, if the purchaser 
demand it, that he may immediately come into the court before 
the said Bailiffs. And if the tenant comes let him be asked by the 
said Bailiffs whether the aforesaid tenement is of the fee or demesne 
of the vendor or is any way charged to the said vendor with such rent 
sold or was wont to render it at the time of such sale. And [if] the 
tenant acknowledge this let him be enjoined by the said Bailiffs that 
he at once take heed thenceforth concerning rendering the said rent 
to the said purchaser according to the form of the deed thereupon 
made, so that the purchaser may have as full estate in receiving that 
rent and in the dominion which belongs thereto according to what the 

1 Thi.? was called "attorning" himself to his new lord. A small payment was 
made by way of acknowledgment (see No. CXVI.). 

172 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

quod inde pertinet secundum quod unquam habuit dictus venditor. 
Et habeat ille emptor potestatem distringendi in predicto tenemento 
pro redditu predicto adeo integre sicut venditor prius habuit. Et 
bene llceat dicto emptor! in placitando si necesse fuerit aduocare' 
huiusmodi districcionem esse factam in feodo suo racione predicte 
recognicionis in curia facte et in tali casu non iaceat in ore tenentis 
dicere quod ipse nichil clamat de ipso emptore tenere. Si autem 
dictus tenens ut predictum est veniat et dicat quod tenementum 
suum non fuit de feodo dominico venditoris tempore vendicionis 
seu recognicionis dicti redditus facte [vel] in aliquo mode de 
dicto redditu eidem venditori oneratum statim inde fiat inquisicio 
si emptor hoc petit alioquin eat tenens inde sine die. Et si 
comperiatur per inquisicionem quod predictum tenementum fuit 
de feodo dominico dicti venditoris [tempore] dicte vendicionis seu 
recognicionis dicti redditus facte vel eidem venditori ut feodum 
aliquo modo oneratum tunc virtute illius inquisicionis consideretur 
quod dictus tenens de dicto redditu dicto emptori sit intendens et 
dictum tenementum extunc de feodo et dominio illius teneatur 
et ipse emptor habeat plenam potestatem distringendi in dicto 

said vendor ever had. And let the purchaser have power of distraining 
in the aforesaid tenement for the aforesaid rent as wholly as the vendor 
had before. And let it be fully lawful for the said purchaser in 
pleading, if need be, to make avowry that such distraint was made on 
his own fee by reason of the aforesaid acknowledgment made in court 
and in such case let it not lie in the mouth of the tenant to say that 
he claims to hold nothing of the said purchaser. If however the said 
tenant as is aforesaid comes and says that his tenement was not of the 
dominical fee of the vendor at the time of the sale or acknowledgment 
that was made of the said rent [or] was in any way charged with the 
said rent to the said vendor, let an inquest be at once made thereon if 
the purchaser claims it, otherwise let the tenant go away without a 
day. And if it be found by the inquest that the aforesaid tenement 
was of the dominical fee of the said vendor [at the time] of the said 
sale or acknowledgment of the said rent made or was any way 
charged to the said vendor as his fee then by virtue of that inquest let 
it be decided that the said tenant give heed to paying the said rent to 
the said purchaser, and let the said tenement thenceforth be held as 
of his fee and demesne, and let the said purchaser have full power of 
distraining on the said tenement of the said tenant as on his own fee 

^ Make a declaration of claim. 

Selected Records of the City of Noi'wich. i ^'^ 

tenemento ipsius tcnentis ut in feodo suo pro dicto redditu quando- 
cunque a retro fiierit prout dictum est supra in casu ubi ille 
tenens recognouit tenementum suuin fuisse de feodo venditoris 
ut ei oneratum. Sin autem, eat ille tenens sine die. Et si forte 
ille tenens illius tenementi nolit venire in curiam ad mandatum 
dictorum Balliuorum ut premittitur factum et facere in hac parte 
secundum quod [? decet] de plenitudine potestatis dictorum Balli- 
uorum ex officio suo ad requisicionem dicti emptoris virtute dicte 
antique consuetudinis dicte ciuitatis distringatur ille tenens de die 
in diem per omnia que de ipso inueniri possint tarn in dicto tenemento 
quam in quibuscunque aliis tenementis in eadem ciuitate ubicunque 
fuerint quousque veniat ad premissa facienda virtute recognicionis 
predicte in curia facte vel ostendendum si quid dicere sciat quare 
dicto emptori de predicto redditu intendere non debeat. Et si 
ille tenens post districciones et compulsiones dictorum Balliuorum 
sibi factas veniat in curiam_ et dicat quod tenementum suum noii 
fuit de feodo nee dominio predicti venditoris die recognicionis 
seruetur processus supradictus. Et si dictus tenens postquam 
posuerit se in inquisicionem fecerit defaltam nichillominus capiatur 

for the said rent whenever it shall be in arrear, as is said above in 
the case where the tenant has acknowledged that his tenement was of 
the fee of the vendor as charged to him, if not let the tenant go 
without a day. And if perchance the tenant of that tenement refuse 
to come into court at the mandate of the said Bailiffs made as is 
premised and to do in this behalf according to what [is right], in the 
plenitude of the power of the said Bailiffs, of their office, at the 
request of the said purchaser by virtue of the said ancient custom of 
the said city let the tenant be distrained from day to day by everything 
of his which can be found as well in the said tenement as in whatsoever 
other tenements in the same city wheresoever they may be until he 
comes to do the above things by virtue of the aforesaid acknowledgment 
made in court or to show, if he knows of anything to say, why he 
should not give heed to the said purchaser concerning the aforesaid 
rent. And if the tenant after the distraints and compulsions of the 
said Bailiffs made upon him come into court and say that his tenement 
was not of the fee and demesne of the aforesaid vendor on the day of 
the acknowledgment, let the aforesaid process' be observed. And if 
the said tenant after he has put himself on an inquest makes default, 
none the less let the inquest be taken and let there be judgment and 

1 As to calling an inquest, 

1 74 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

inquisicio et fiat iudicium et processus ut supradictum est. Et 
eodem modo fiat de quocunque redditu adquisito in ilia ciuitate 
in testamento alicuius cuicunque relicto seu legato seu ad vendendum 
per executorem assignato. Et si per balliuum testificetur in plena 
curia per tres dies quod dictus tenens in dominico non potest 
distringi vel attachiari in dicta ciuitate tunc incontinentim per 
consideracionem Balliuorum habeat ille adquisitor potestatem 
distringendi in predictis tenementis ut predictum est saluo 
tamen tenenti in dominico in hoc casu quod ipse possit per viam 
legis alia tenementa sua disonerare versus ilium adquisitorem. 
Et si talis tenens post recognicionem huiusmodi redditus vendat 
vel alienet tenementum suum de quo redditus ille dicitur prouenire 
seruetur tunc versus primum tenentem processus predictus saluo 
tamen illi cui alienetur seu vendatur quod se possit iungere eidem 
primo tenenti ad disonerandum tenementum suum per viam legis 
si possit pendente processu nee iaceat Essonium per neutram partem 
in processu predicto nee attornatus pro tenente in dominico. 

Capitulum tricessimum tercium. 
Item pro assissa panis^ in ciuitate custodienda quatuor probi 

process as is said above. And in the same manner let it be done 
with any rent acquired in the city [and] in any man's testament left 
or devised to any one or assigned to be sold by the executor. And if 
it be testified by a bailiff in full court for 3 days that the said tenant 
in demesne cannot be distrained or attached in the said city, then 
immediately by decision of the Bailiffs let the purchaser have power 
of distraining in the aforesaid tenements as is aforesaid saving however 
to the tenant in demesne in this case that he may by way of law 
discharge his other tenements against this acquirer. And if such 
tenant after the acknowledgment of such rent sell or alienate his 
tenement out of which the rent is said to issue let the aforesaid process 
be then observed against the first tenant, saving however to him to 
whom it is alienated or sold that he may join himself to the said first 
tenant for discharging his tenement by way of law if they can pending 
the process, and let not an Essoin lie for either party in the aforesaid 
process nor an attorney [act] for the tenant in demesne. 

Chapter 3 3RD. 
Also for keeping the assize of bread in the city let 4 honest and 

1 Fuller reference to the matters dealt with in Chapters 33 to 44 will be made in 
Vol. II., in considering the social ^nd economic progress of the city. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 75 

homines et legales eligantur annuatim et coram communitate 
iurentur videlicet duo ex officio pistoris et duo alii de legalibus 
hominibus dicte ciuitatis qui melius sciuerint facere quod incumbit 
pro communi utilitate ciuitatis et patrie. Et onerentur per 
sacramentum suum quod bene et fideliter custodient et custodiri 
facient assissam. Et illi quatuor electi et iurati ement bladum et 
illud facient molare buletare et infurniri et panem inde prouenientem 
vendLcioni committent Ita quod videre possint quod populus non 
decipiatur ymmo quod eidem recte ac fideliter seruiatur sine 
fraude et habeat pistor pro labore suo communem assissam 
antiquam in ciuitate usitatam. Et Balliui liberabunt eis pecuniam 
ad dictum bladum emendum et alia premissa facienda quousque 
panis vendatur. Et nullus pistor in ciuitate vendat panem donee 
idem panis vendatur et illud bladum ematur de precio mediocri. 
Et fiat assaia bis in anno unum [sic] videlicet post festum sancti 
Michaelis et aliud post festum pasche. Et nulla mensura pistoris 
in ciuitate nee alicuius alterius sit largior in altitudine vel in 
profunditate quam sit standardum domini Regis existens in 
custodia Balliuorum set quod omnes sint illius status in omnibus. 
Et si alia mensura inueniatur in ciuitate statim capiatur et saluo 

lawful men be chosen yearly and let them be sworn in presence of the 
Community to wit, 2 from the office of baker and 2 others from the 
lawful men of the said city who may best know to do what lies for 
the common good of the city and country. And let them be charged 
on their oath that they well and faithfully keep and cause to be kept 
the assize. And these 4 elected and sworn shall buy corn and cause 
it to be ground and bolted and baked and the bread issuing therefrom 
they shall offer for sale, so that they may see that the people be not 
deceived but rather that they be served with it rightly and faithfully 
without fraud, and let the baker have for his trouble the ancient 
common assize used in the city. And the Bailiffs shall deliver money 
to them towards buying the said corn and doing the other things 
aforesaid until the bread is sold. And no baker in the city may sell 
bread until the said bread is sold and this corn is bought for a 
moderate price. And let an assay be made twice in the year, to wit, 
one after the feast of St. Michael and the other after the feast of 
Easter. And no baker's measure in the city nor of any other man 
may be larger in height or in depth than is the standard of the lord 
King being in the keeping of the Bailiffs but let all be of that size in 
all things. And if another measure be found in the city let it be 

176 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

custodiatur nee cuique restituatur set tanquam forisfacta balliuis 
remaneat. Et delinquentes in premissis vel eorum aliquo grauiter 
puniantur prout decet. Item assaia vini et seruisie seruetur per 
balliuos in virtute iuramenti sui secundum quod iniunctum est 
communiter per marescallum domini Regis. Et caueant sibi 
Balliui quod nulla sit falsa mensura vini vel seruicie in ilia ciuitate. 
Et quod non tabernarii neque braciatrices habeant aliquas mensuras 
ad inde vendendum nisi prius examinentur per standardum domini 
Regis et signentur signo ciuitatis per visum Balliui principalis. Et 
nulla mensura in ciuitate signetur nisi per visum quatuor Balliuorum 
principalium vel saltern unius eorum et hoc in virtute iuramenti 
sui prestiti in eleccione sua. Et quod signum nuncquam tradatur 
alicui seruienti nisi in presentia dominorum suorum. 

Capitulum tricesimum quartum. 

Item scrutentur vulne^ et pondera in ciuitate usitata in manibus 
mercatorum existencia quicunque fuerint bis ter vel quater in anno 
ad voluntatem Balliuorum si sint bona fidelia competencia pro 
omnibus ementibus et vendentibus exinde et signentur certis 

immediately seized and safe kept and not restored to any one but 
remain as a forfeit with the Bailiffs. And let those who offend in the 
above things or in any of them be heavily punished as is fit. Also let 
an assay of wine and ale be kept by the Baihfifs in virtue of their oath 
according to what is enjoined in general by the lord King's Marshall. 
And let the Bailiffs take heed to themselves that there be no false 
measure of wine or ale in the city. And that taverners and brewsters 
have no measures to sell with unless they be first examined by the 
standard of the lord King and stamped with the city stamp by the 
view of a chief Bailiff. And no measure in the city may be stamped 
except by the view of the 4 chief Bailiffs or at least one of them and 
that in virtue of their oath tendered at their election. And the stamp 
may never be delivered to any sergeant save in the presence of their 

Chapter 34TH. 

Also let ells and weights used in the city being in the hands of 
merchants whosoever they are, be examined twice thrice or 4 times a 
year at the will of the Bailiffs whether they are good trustworthy 
competent for all buying and selling therewith, and let them be stamped 

1 Cloth measures (tdne). The first two letters are a double "u." 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 177 

singulis sigillis ad hoc prouidendis. Et ulne et pondera que falsa 
poterunt inueniri seu non legalia quandocunque fuerint inuenta 
capiantur et suspendantur et frangantur et omnino adnichillentur. 
Et ita fiat de omnibus mensuris que inuente fuerint inabiles et 
infideles in ciuitate. Et illi cum quibus talia inueniantur pro ilia 
transgressione grauiter puniantur et sufficientem faciant securitatem 
quod in posterum in ilia ciuitate talia non committent. Et si 
post huiusmodi securitatem vel inhibicionem inde factam de 
huiusmodi commisso conuincantur cum super hoc fuerint conuicti 
grauiter redimantur ad terrorem aliorum. 

Capitulum tricesimum quintum. 

Item de Trona domini Regis in ciuitate ilia quod de piano 
habeat idem^ quod ad Tronam pertinet itaque nuUus conciuis 
nee aliquis alius in eadem infra domum vel extra grossam nee 
quicunque alius quam conciuis grossam nee modicam quantitatem 
cuiuscunque mercandie que tronam domini Regis usitare debet 

with certain several seals to be provided for this purpose. And ells 
and weights which shall be found false or not lawful whensoever 
they shall be found let them be seized and hung up and broken and 
altogether destroyed. And so be it done with all measures which 
shall be found useless and untrustworthy in the city. And let those 
with whom such are found be heavily punished for that transgression 
and find sufficient security that in future they will not commit such 
offences in the city. And if after such security found or inhibition 
made thereof they be convicted of such offence, when they shall 
have been convicted thereon let them be heavily ransomed to the 
terror of others. 

Chapter 3STH. 

Also concerning the lord King's Beam in the city, that the said 
[King] may clearly have what pertains to the Beam, therefore no 
fellow-citizen nor any other in the said [city] may sell or bay wholesale 
within his house or without nor any other than a fellow citizen a great 
[wholesale] or small [retail] quantity of any merchandise which ought 
to use the lord King's beam to the prejudice of the beam [in the case] 

1 The Tron or King's Beam was used for weighing heavy goods, such as wool or 
other goods sold by the hundredweight. On some of these the King took custom by 
grant of Parliament. Smaller goods sold by the pound (" Avoir de pois," averia ponderis), 
were weighed by balances (see London Lib. Oust. 784, s.v. Averia ponderis). 


178 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

vendat vel emat in preiudicium trone illius de nulla mercandia 
que per tronam debet ponderari. Et exinde nichil sit quietum 
neque lana neque sepum nee aliquod genus auerii ponderis quod 
inde debeat usitari vel ponderari sub forisfactura ipsius mercandie 
ad opus domini Regis.^ Et pro auerio ponderis debito modo 
ponderando habeat Tronator balancias et pondera per standardum 
domini Regis adeo bene quam Tronam. 

Capitulum tricesimum sextum. 

Item nullus mercandizet in ciuitate qui in eadem facit 
residenciam nisi sit ad lottum et scottum illius ciuitatis et ad 
omnia eiusdem auxilia contribuet. Et quod omnes qui recipientur 
in parem^ ciuitatis sint liberi et non serui'' alicuius et bene 

of any merchandise which ought to be weighed at the beam. And 
nothing is quit therefrom, neither wool nor lard nor any kind of avoir-de- 
pois which ought to be used there or weighed, under forfeit of the said 
merchandise to the use of the lord King. And for weighing avoir-de- 
pois in due manner the Troner may have balances and weights by 
the standard of the lord King as well as the Beam. 

Chapter 36TH. 

Also no one may merchandise in the city who makes his residence 
in the same unless he be at lot and scot of the city and contribute to 
the common aids of the same. And that all who shall be received as 
a peer of the city may be free and not serfs of anyone, [and] let 

^ It would seem that this chapter, except perhaps the last clause, is concerned with dues 
payable to the King. Tronage amounting to loj. belonging to the citizens is accounted for 
in the Pipe Roll of 56 Hen. III. during forfeiture of the liberties. 

2 This interesting expression, "peer of the city," is used throughout this Custumal 
as the equivalent of a " citizen." It is very seldom used in any other Norwich documents. 
It is found in the Leet Roll of 1375, No. CCCXX. It is also met with in the Ipswich 
Domesday [Black Book of the Admiralty, Vol. II. pp. xxii. and 136 ») ; and in the form 
"peers and commoners" of a town as traders in a fair in Maitland Pleas in Manorial 
Courts, [Selden Society, Vol. II. p. 152). It was perhaps used in Norwich in some old form 
of admission to the freedom of the city, and so survived in that connection. It will be 
noticed as curious that in the list of titles of the chapters of the Custumal (26, 29 and 36), 
the form "par ville " is used instead of "par civitatis" which is almost always used in the 
Custumal itself. This was no doubt a popular use, because the burgesses of other towns 
would be so described. Its meaning as an assertion of the equality of all citizens as 
distinguished from non-citizens is borne out by the whole tendency of the various customs. 

' This did not bar the admission of persons of s^ryile birth, See the last clause, 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 179 

inquiratur antequam recipiantur. Et illi qui admittentur gratis 
et solempniter faciant introitum suum coram illis qui ad hoc 
assignantur per totam communitatem singulis annis quater in 
anno ad terminos usuales Ita quod ad minus in talibus in- 
troitibus quandocunque contigerit sint duodecim de assignatis 
presentes et sine minore numero nullus admittatur quod si cecus 
fiat irritum sit et inane. Et quod omnes qui sic admittentur 
diligenter^ examinentur per sacramentum proprium ante eorum 
recepcionem de quantitate bonorum suorum secrete per illos 
duodecim et per alios qui noticiam habent ipsius et facultatum 
suarum per sacramentum in hac parte prestandum. Et si ille 
forinsecus et non extiterit apprenticius in ciuitate non minus 
recipiatur quam pro viginti solidis communitati soluendis. Et 
ulterius det secundum quod sue suppetant facultates. Et nullus 
apprenticius admittatur ad parem ciuitatis nisi bonum habeat testi- 
monium de domino suo et visneto illius et nuUo modo pro minori 
precio quam una marca. Et [si] huiusmodi apprenticii facultates 
ulterius possint sufficere ilia vice plus det pro introitu suo 
secundum ordinacionem illorum duodecim. Et nomina illorum 

enquiry be well made before they are received. And let those who 
shall be admitted voluntarily and solemnly make their entrance, before 
those who are assigned for that purpose by the whole community 
every year, 4 times in the year at the usual terms, so that at least 
in such entries whensoever they fall there be 12 of those assigned 
present and without [sic] a less number let no one be admitted, which 
if it be otherwise done let it be worthless and void. And that all who 
shall be thus admitted be carefully examined by their proper oath 
before their reception concerning the quantity of their goods secretly 
by those 12 and by others who have knowledge of him and his 
means by the oath to be tendered on that behalf. And if he be a 
foreigner and has not been an apprentice in the city let him not be 
received for less than 20 shillings to be paid to the community. And 
let him further give according as his means may suffice. And let no 
apprentice be admitted as a peer of the city unless he have good 
testimony from his master and his venue and in no wise for a less 
price than one mark. And [if] the means of such an apprentice can 
further suffice in that case let him give more for his entrance according 
to the ordinance of those twelve. And let the names of those 12 at 

1 The MS. has "admittentur" after "diligenter" as well as before, probably by 
error of the copyist in the Book of Pleas, 

1 80 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

duodecim ad quemlibet introitum irrotulentur et nomen illius 
intrantis in uno Rotulo indentato et dupplicato et finis illius 
intrantis et plegii sui et terminus solucionis sue et annus et dies 
et nomen clerici iurati qui habebit unum rotulum penes se et alius 
remanebit in communi cista.^ Et nullus alius irrotulet quam 
clericus ille iuratus. Et quilibet ingrediens dabit clerico sex 
denarios pro labore suo. Et ille nouus par ciuitatis bonam 
securitatem faciet quod infra annum sue recepcionis in parem 
impetrabit sibi certum habitaculum nisi prius habuerit in ilia 
ciuitate ad morandum in eodem cum familia sua et bona sua 
mobilia ad dictam trahet ciuitatem. Et si non fecit post annum 
completum habeatur pro extraneo cum sequela sua sicut prius. 
Et nullus ingrediens illo anno [in quo] facit introitum suum 
quicquam dabit lottum neque aliud auxilium in eadem ciuitate 
nisi tantummodo ad muros eiusdem ciuitatis faciendos [vel] si 
necesse fuerit reparandos set propter hoc non erit quietus versus 
dominum Regem si contingat ipsum aliquod auxilium vel 
tallagium in eadem imponere cum voluerit unde nullus se poterit 
excusare. Et si seruus velit ingredi prime querat licenciam 
domini sui per literas suas patentes. 

any entry be enrolled and the name of the entrant in a Roll indented 
and duplicated and the fine of the entrant and his pledges and the 
term of his payment and the year and day and the name of the sworn 
clerk, who shall have one roll in his possession and the other shall 
remain in the common chest. And let none other enroll than the 
sworn clerk. And every one on his entry shall give to the clerk 6 pence 
for his labour. And the new peer of the city shall find good security 
that within a year of his reception as a peer he will obtain for himself 
a fixed habitation, unless he had one before in the city, to dwell in the 
same with his family and let him bring his movable goods to the said 
city. And if he has not done it after a full year let him be held for a 
stranger with his family as before. And no one entering shall in the 
year [in which] he makes his entry give any lot nor any aid in the 
said city except only an aid for making [or] if need be for repairing 
the walls of the said city, but he shall not on this account be quit 
towards the lord King if he happen to impose when he wills any aid 
or tallage in the same, whereof none may excuse himself. And if a 
serf wishes to enter let him first seek license of his lord by his letters 

I No such rolls as these have survived, 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 8 1 

Capitulum tricesimum septimum. 

Item nullus conciuis ciuitatis nee aliquis alius commorans in 
eadem nee in eius suburbio nee quiuis alius quicunque fuerit 
carnes pisces volatilia oua easeum butirum nee aliquid aliud 
genus ciborum in foro super cayum in aqua in domo euria vieo 
venella nee in aliquo loco in eadem eiuitate nee eius suburbio 
emat ad vendendum aliis nee emere piesumat nee per arras suas 
aut argentum dei^ attaehiet quocunque colore quesito arte vel 
ingenio^ quousque ad missam beate Marie ad eeclesiam sanete 
Trinitatis pulsetur* singulis diebus aliquo tempore anni. Et quod 
nullus adeat obuiando per vicos stratas seu venellas nee per alia 
loea ciuitatis aut suburbii eiusdem nee extra eeiam per unam 
leueam itineris per terram nee per aquam pro nuUo premissorum 
emendo per quod huiusmodi venalia eibaria versus eiuitatem 
adducentes vel portantes ad vendendum quoquomodo impediantur 
ad forum publicum et commune ciuitatis veniendo et premissa 
ibidem vendendo libere cuicunque ea emere volenti ab eisdem Ita 
quod nichil vendieione cariori in eadem eiuitate vendatur quam 

Chapter 37TH. 

Also no fellow citizen of the city nor any other dwelling in the 
same nor in its suburb nor any other whosoever he be may buy to sell 
to others meat fish fowls eggs cheese butter nor any other kind ot 
food in market on quay on water in house court street lane nor in 
any place in the said city nor its suburb nor may presume to buy nor 
by his earnests or God's money attach [them] under whatsoever 
colour demand device or fraud until the bell has sounded for the 
mass of the Blessed Virgin at the Church of the Holy Trinity every 
day at any time of the year. And that no one may go to meet by 
roads streets or lanes nor by other places of the city or its suburb nor 
outside even for one league of journey by land nor by water for buying 
any of the aforesaid [goods], whereby persons leading or carrying 
towards the city vendible foods of such kind for sale may be in any 
wise hindered from coming to the public and common market of the 
city and there selling the aforesaid freely to any one wishing to buy 
them from the same, so that nothing may be sold in the said city by 

1 On "God's penny," see Pollock and Maitland, II. 208. 

2 Fr. {inal) engin. 

3 The "hour of prime." Cf. Leet Junsd., &c., pp. 31 and 56 with p. 80. 

1 82 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

fieri debet et solet ne populus ciuitatis et patrie per huiusmodi 
emptores dampna incurrat. Et quod nullus qui talia victualia 
versus ciuitatem adducit vel portat quoquomodo impediatur 
quominus ilia in publico foro cuicunque ea emere volenti libere 
vendere valeat usque ad horam predictam. Et quicunque inuenti 
fueiint contra premissa venientes et querela vel offencio boni viri 
balliuis ciuitatis super hoc fiat et talis delinquens super hoc 
conuincatur reddat ipse conuictus querelanti dampna sua et 
grauiter amercietur versus Balliuos siue inuentus fuerit talis ad 
querelam siue ex officio balliuorum ilia vice. Et [si] iterum 
super consimili delicto conuincatur in ciuitate perpetrato perdat 
totam mercandiam ad opus Balliuorum et nichillominus ponatur 
super pilloriam per consideracionem et iudicium curie ciuitatis 
Ita quod eius punicio sit metus aliorum et populo manifestetur 
eius culpa Et fiat publica proclamacio in foro de causa punicionis 
sue in hac parte. Et predicta punicio non redimatur nee Balliui 
habeant potestatem huiusmodi punicionem redimendi et illud 
tangit totam conimunitatem et populum tocius patrie nee illius 
executionem dissimulandi nee differendi seu retardandi ymmo 

a dearer sale than ought and is wont to be done, that the people of 
the city and country may not suffer loss through such buyers, and 
that no one who leads or carries such victuals towards the city may 
be in any wise impeded from being able to sell them freely in the 
public market to any one wishing to buy them up to the aforesaid 
hour. And all who shall be found contravening the above and a 
complaint or charge of a good man be made to the Bailiffs 
thereupon and such offender be convicted thereof let him that is 
convicted restore to the complainant his losses and let him be heavily 
amerced towards 'the Bailiffs whether such a man be found on a 
complaint or on that occasion by the office of the Bailiffs. And if a 
second time he be convicted of the like offence perpetrated in the city 
let him lose all his merchandise to the use of the Bailiffs and nevertheless 
let him be set upon the pillory by the decision and judgment of the 
court of the city, so that his punishment may be the terror of others 
and his fault may be made manifest to the people, and let public 
proclamation be made in the market concerning the cause of his 
punishment in this matter. And the aforesaid punishment may not be 
redeemed nor may the Bailiffs have power to redeem such punishment 
(for that thing touches the whole community and the people of the 
whole country) nor to dissemble nor defer or delay its execution, 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 183 

incontinentim cum fuerit conuictus illud iudicium reddendi et 
complendi in virtute iuramenti sui. Et si tercia vice inueniatur 
talis delinquens in ciuitate non obstantibus punicionibus predictis 
perdat ut prius mercandiam illam et puniatur ut prius et statim 
abiuret ciuitatem per unum annum et unum diem et nichillominus 
reddat dampna querelanti si unde habeat. Et si postmodum in 
casu ciuitatem reuertatur in eadem moraturus inueniet bonam 
securitatem quod talia nuncquam committat in eadem. Et nullus 
conciuis vel seruiens ciuitatis tales in suis maleficiis foueat nee 
manuteneat aut defendat quoquomodo quod [?quia] de talibus 
maximum scandalum oritur ciuitati et indies poterit oriri, Et 
quicunque conuinci poterit quod tales contra libertatem et con- 
suetudinem et ordinacionem communitatis ab antiquo in premissis 
factas in huiusmodi malicia fouere presumit vel defendere minus 
iuste sit talis factor vel defensor in forisfacturam dimidie marce 
ad communem utilitatem ciuitatis quotiens et quando sic poterit 
conuinci que incontinentim postquam conuictus fuerit per 
Balliuos leuetur et camerariis ciuitatis liberetur qui hoc faciant 
irrotulari et inde inter cetera compotum suum reddant. 

rather immediately when he shall be convicted [they ought] to render 
and fulfil that judgment in virtue of their oath. And if a third time 
such oifender be found in the city the aforesaid punishments notwith- 
standing, let him lose his merchandise as before and be punished as 
before and straightway abjure the city for a year and a day and none 
the less let him render damages to the complainant if he has wherefrom 
[to do it]. And if afterwards perchance he returns to the city to dwell 
there, let him find good security that he will never commit such things 
therein. And let no fellow citizen or sergeant of the city encourage 
such men in their evil doings or maintain or defend them in any wise, 
because by such very great scandal arises in the city and may daily 
arise. And whosoever can be convicted of presuming to encourage 
and wrongfully defend such persons in such like ill doing contrary to 
the liberty and custom and ordinance of the community made of old in the 
aforesaid matters, let such aider or defender be in forfeit of half a mark 
to the common profit of the city as often as and when he can be so 
convicted, which [forfeit] immediately after he has been convicted 
must be levied by the Bailiffs and delivered to the Chamberlains of 
the city who shall cause it to be enrolled and render account thereof 
amongst other things. 

1 84 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Capitulum tricesimum octauum. 

Item quia mercandia in ciuitate est et esse debet^ communis 
omnibus qui sunt pares ciuitatis et quidam contra racionem e£ 
ciuitatis consuetudinem habent ex usu faciendi empciones suas 
per duos tres vel quatuor aut plures seruientes suos vel alios 
quos voluerint pro de suo eisdem dando quos aduocant pro 
seruientibus suis propriis seu ministris ad habendum duas tres 
vel quatuor partes vel amplius illius mercandie versus parem 
ciuitatis nullus de cetero tales empciones faciat in ciuitate nisi 
per se ipsum vel unum seruientem suum tantum [Ita] quod 
conciues sui et pares eiusdem qui huiusmodi empcionibus et 
mercandisis se voluerint immiscere^ non impediantur quin illi 
equaliter profitare poterint iuxta eorum facultatem prout debent 
in premissis. Et quicunque inueniri poterint contrauenire et per 
querelam et officium Balliuorum conuincantur habeat querelans suum 
recuperare de dampnis suis et racionabilem partem suam in ilia 
mercandia et ille perturbator grauiter amercietur versus Balliuos 

Chapter 38TH. 

Also because merchandise in the city is and ought to be common 
to all who are peers of the city, and certain persons contrary to reason 
and the custom of the city have a practice of making their purchases 
by 2, 3, or 4 or more of their servants or by others whom they choose 
by giving them of their own, whom they avow for their proper servants 
or ministers, so that they have 2, 3, or 4 parts or more of that merchandise 
as against a peer of the city, let none henceforth make such purchases 
in the city save by himself or one of his servants only, so that his 
fellow citizens and peers of the same who may wish to join in such 
purchases and merchandise be not hindered from sharing equally 
according to their means as they ought in the above matters. And 
whosoever can be found to contravene in this way and be convicted of 
it by complaint or office of the Bailiffs, let the complainant have his 
recovery of his damages and his reasonable part in that merchandise 
and let that perturber be heavily amerced towards the Baihffs for his 

1 The MS. has "communibus communis -omnibus," which might mean " common to 
all commons who are peers." But the word "communes" in this sense is so extremely 
rare, and never means one who is not a citizen, that it is probably inserted in error by 
confusion with the next word. 

'' Every citizen who was present when a. favourable bargain was being made by 
another citizen might claim a share in it. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 85 

pro culpa sua. Et [si] nulla sit inde querela nee ostensio Balliuis 
super [hoc] facta et huiusmodi delictum inhibitum in ciuitate 
reperiatur esse commissum inquirant Balliui ex officio frequenter 
cum eis visum fuerit de huiusmodi delictis commissis et culpabiles 
ita puniantur ut eorum pena sit metus aliorum et scandalum ab 
hoc in ciuitate et patria deleatur ne communitas in defectum 
Balliuorum remedium apponere cogatur. 

Capitulum tricesimum nonum. 

Item quod nullus conciuis vel par ciuitatis aliquem recipiat 
seruientem suum ad societatem in mercandia facienda eniendo 
vel vendendo quocunque colore priusquam ille seruiens fecerit 
introitum suum solempniter et deueniet par ciuitatis nee in 
apprenticiuni suum ut lueretur ad opus suum proprium vel 
participet lucrum cum eodem domino suo. Et si quis poterit 
conuinci in hac parte erit in forisfactura xl solidorum ad com- 
mune auxilium ciuitatis qui statim leuentur de bonis suis 
postquam eonuictus fuerit et camerariis ciuitatis per Balliuos 
liberentur et in utilitatem ville conuertantur et hoc nullo modo 

fault. And if there be no complaint thereof and no notice made 
thereon to the Bailiffs and such an offence forbidden in the city be 
found to have been committed, let the Bailiffs frequently enquire 
oflBcially when it shall seem good to them concerning this offence 
being committed and let the guilty be so punished that their penalty 
may be a terror to others and the scandal thereat in the city and 
country may be blotted out, that the Community be not compelled, 
in default of the Bailiffs, to apply a remedy. 

Chapter 39TH. 

Also that no fellow-citizen or peer of the city may receive his servant 
into partnership in making merchandise by buying and selling under 
whatever pretext before the servant has solemnly made his entry and 
become a peer of the city, nor as his apprentice in order that he may 
make gain to his own proper use or share gain with his said master. 
And if any one can be convicted in this way he shall be in forfeit of 
40 shillings to the common aid of the city which shall be forthwith 
levied from his goods after he has been convicted and delivered to the 
Chamberlains of the city by the Bailiffs and converted to the profit of 
the town and let this in no wise be omitted. 

1 86 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Capitulum quadragesimum. 

Item quod nullus carnifex abrocarius neque ceteri qui dicuntur 
tiplers^ nullo modo emant nee per denarium nee per argentum dei^ 
annonent nomine annone id est arnest attachient blada animalia 
nee aliquod aliud venale quod venerit ad ciuitatem ad vendendum 
nisi statim post illius empcionem parati sint ad pacandum venditori 
pro mercandia ab eodem empta. Ita [quod] patriote non dilatentur 
nee impediantur in eorum pacacione recipienda et negocia sua alicui 
de ciuitate inde facienda. Et quod nulla feleuga^ fiat in eadem 
mercandia sic vendita et empta postquam emptor post visum et 
convencionem rei empte noticiam habeat si quod venditor plene 
habeat querelans dampna sua secundum quantitatem mercandie 
et dilationem sibi factam in pacacione sua et nichillominus ilia 
delinquens grauiter amercietur versus Balliuos si habeat unde 
et si non habeat unde puniatur bene alio modo iuxta arbitrium 
Balliuorum. Et si hoc fecit ex consuetudine et super hoc 
conuincatur puniatur per pilloriam et nichillonimus satisfaciat 

Chapter 40TH. 

Also that no butcher broker nor the others who are called tiplers 
may in any wise buy nor by money nor by God's silver in the name 
of " annona," that is " arnest " attach corn animals nor any other vendible 
which shall come to the city for sale unless they are prepared forthwith 
after the purchase to satisfy the vendor for the merchandise purchased 
from him. So that the countrymen may not be put off nor hindered 
in receiving their payment and doing their business therewith with 
some one in the city. And that no [?] be made in the said merchandise 
so sold and bought after the buyer upon view and covenant of the thing 
bought [....] if the seller have knowledge thereof let the com- 
plainant fully have his damages according to the quantity of the 
merchandise and the delay made in giving him payment, and nevertheless 
let the offender be heavily amerced towards the Baihfifs if he have 
wherefrom and if he have not wherefrom let him be well punished in 
some other way at the will of the Bailiffs. And if he does this customarily 
and be convicted thereon let him be punished with the pillory and 
nevertheless give satisfaction to the complainant of the damages to be 

1 Alehouse keepers. 

2 See ch. 37. The use of "annona'' (corn) for "earnest" is most unusual. The 
whole chapter seems corrupt. 

8 The meaning of this word is uncertain. It might be connected with "felagus,'' a 
fellow or partner. The sentence is unintelligible as it stands. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 187 

querelanti de dampnis suis adiudicandis. Et si alias poterit 
conuinci tunc abiuret ciuitatem per annum et diem &c. ut in 
xxxvij^ capitulo. 

Capitulum quadragesimum primum. 

Item nullum genus mercandie ut blada pisces carnes et 
animalia panni lana mercimonia precium^ auerium pondeiis nee 
quicquam aliud venale quod venit ad ciuitatem per terram vel 
per aquam in eadem ciuitate quoquomodo occultetur neque in 
curia neque in domo ad excludendum vel impediendum dominum 
Regem nee eius ministros de consuetudine inde debita vel 
tolneto suo nee aliquis in ciuitate aduocet bona extraneorum 
tamquam sua sub aliquo colore nee facial conductum a villa nee 
versus villam de bonis extraneis palam vel occulte sub aliquo 
velamine ut sua propria per quod consuetudo vel tolnetum 
Regium asportetur et perdatur contra statutum et libertatem 
ciuitatis. Et illi [qui] de huiusmodi delicto poterint conuinci 
dupplicabunt consuetudinem et tolnetum domini Regis et sint 
in forisfacto ad commune auxilium ciuitatis et pro Sacramento 
suo violato de quadraginta soUdis statim post huiusmodi 
conuiccionem per Balliuos leuandis et camerariis ville liberandis 

adjudged. And if he can be convicted in other cases then let him 
abjure the city for a year and a day &c. as in Chapter 37th. 

Chapter 41ST. 

Also no kind of merchandise as corn fish meat and animals cloths, 
wool, merchandise, avoir de poids nor any other vendible which comes 
to the city by land or by water may in any wise be hidden in the same 
city neither in court nor in house to shut out or impede the lord King 
or his ministers from the custom due therefrom or his toll, nor may 
any one in the city avow the goods of strangers as their own under 
any colour, nor convey from the town nor towards the town strangers' 
goods secretly or openly under any pretext as his own, whereby the 
custom or toll of the king is carried off and lost contrary to statute 
and the liberty of the city. And those [who] can be convicted of such 
an offence shall double the custom and toll of the lord King and let 
them be in forfeit to the common aid of the city, for the violation of 
their oath, 40 shillings to be levied by the Bailiifs forthwith after such 
conviction and delivered to the Chamberlains of the town and that as 
^ This word is underlined as doubtful in the Book of Pleas. 

1 88 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

tociens quociens super hoc poterint conuinci de quibus xl solidis 
medietas communitati at alia medietas Balliuis pro eorum labore 
remaneat quiete Ita quod vigiles sint in premissis. 

Capitulum quadragesimum secundum. 

Item quod nullus extraneus hospitetur in ciuitate ultra unum 
diem et unam noctem nisi hospes suus sit respondens pro eodem 
et si aliquo casu pro debito et pro transgressione in ciuitate 
facta extraneus querat fugam unde secta facta sit versus 
eundem statim defendantur bona et catalla per Balliuos in manu 
hospitis sui et de eisdem habeatur visas qui et quantum sit 
defensum ibidem et nuUo modo ilia deliberentur quousque talis 
extraneus se attachiauerit de stando recto et de satisfaciendo iili 
cui tenetur secundum quod per legem et ciuitatis consuetudinem 
ostendere poterit versus eundem quod inde ei satisfacere debet. 
Et si talis hospes huiusmodi bona et catalla contra defensionem 
sibi factam deliberauerit respondeat ille hospes de debito petito 
et de transgressione facta petenti et querelanti ad valorem rei 
prohibite in manu sua secundum quod faceret principalis si 
conuincetur. Et si licet predictus hospes sic satisfaceret querelanti 

often as they can be convicted thereon, of which 40 shiUings let half 
remain quietly with the Community and the other half with the Bailiffs 
for their trouble, provided they be vigilant in the above matters. 

Chapter 42ND. 

Also that no stranger be entertained in the city beyond one day 
and one night unless his host is answerable for him and if by any 
chance for debt and for transgression done in the city the stranger seeks 
flight, whereof a suit is made against him, forthwith let the goods and 
chattels in the hand of his host be laid under prohibition by the Bailiffs 
and view had of them what and how much is there bound, and 
let them in no wise be delivered up until such stranger has 
attached himself to stand to right and to make satisfaction to him to 
whom he is bound according to what by law and custom of the city he 
can show against him that he ought to satisfy him thereof. And if 
such host contrary to the prohibition laid upon him shall deliver up 
such goods and chattels let the host answer, for the debt sued and the 
transgression done, to the petent and complainant to the value of the 
prohibited thing in his hand according to what the principal would do if 
he were convicted. And although the aforesaid host thus satisfies the 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 189 

tamen versus Balliuos grauiter amercietur pro eo quod ilia 
liberauit contra defencionem eorum et nullum extraneum ultra 
dictum terminum recipiat nisi velit suo periculo pro ipso 
respondere secundum formam statuti domini Regis. 

Capitulum quadragestmum tercium. 
Item quia plures seruientes operantes cum diuersis hominibus 
de ciuitate in diuersis officiis unum denarium pro diurno &c. qui 
nichil aliud habent nisi officium tale pro quibus^ sepius allegatum 
est in ciuitate in pluribus querelis et in diuersis in premissis factis 
versus tales qui nichil habent per quod possint attachiari unde 
maiorem audaciam sibi assumant delinquendi pro eo quod corpora 
in quibusdam casibus non sunt aristanda ut maliciis huiusmodi 
hominum decetero obuietur ut fiebat ab antiquo. Et quod domini 
sui non sunt pro eis respondentes eo quod non sunt de manupastu 
eorum quia recipiunt denarium diurnum pro denario operis ut 
predicitur. Quod tales cum aliquis versus eos per vadium et 
plegium sequatur pro aliqua transgressione per eos commissa in 
ciuitate nuUus eum recipiat in aliquo opere faciendo quousque 

complainant none the less let him be heavily amerced towards the Bailiffs 
for that he delivered up the things contrary to their prohibition, and 
let him receive no stranger beyond the said term unless he wills at 
his own risk to answer for him according to the form of the statute of 
the lord King. 

Chapter 43RD. 

Also because many servants working with divers men of the city 
in divers occupations [at] one penny for daily &c. who have nothing 
except such work for [? in respect of] whom it is often alleged in the city, 
in many complaints and in divers things done in the above matters, against 
such that they have nothing by which they can be attached, whence they 
assume to themselves the greater boldness of offending, for that their 
bodies in certain cases cannot be arrested so that a stop may henceforth 
be put to the evil doings of such men as was done of old, and because 
their masters are not answerable for them for that they are not of their 
mainpast because they receive a penny a day for a penny of work 
as is aforesaid, [therefore as to] such when anyone makes suit against 
them by wed and pledge for any transgression committed by them in 
the city, no one may receive the offender in doing any work until he 

' Though the general sense of this chapter is clear, much of the language is very 

1 90 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

se iusticiauerit legi. Et si quis veniat in contrarium grauiter 
amercietur versus Balliuos. Et quod tales delinquentes si se nolint 
iusticiare propter operis amissionem in tioc casu non permittatur 
in ciuitate morari. 

Capitulum quadragesimum quartum. 

Item quia fossata ciuitatis non modicum deteriorantur propter 
fedacionem animalium diuersorum communiter proclametur quater 
in anno de vico in vicum et de porta ad portam quod unusquisque 
habens animalia in ciuitate ilia faciant custodire a fossatis. Et si 
ita sit quod aliquomodo inuentum in eisdem capiatur et detineatur 
per custodes portarum quousque dominus illius animalis soluerit 
ad emendacionem fossatorum vel ad muragium pro quolibet pede 
animalis unum denarium. Et ipse qui ea sic ceperit habebit pro 
iabore suo de singulis quatuor denariis sic receptis unum denarium 
Ita quod per sacramentum suum iideliter capiat et custodiet omnia 
animalia ibidem inuenta et denarios inde receptos integros persoluat 
ad muragium predictum sine aliquo parcendo et ad hoc semel in 
anno iurabit quilibet custos portarum [qui] in tempore fuerit in 

has justified himself to the law. And if any one contravenes this let 
him be heavily amerced towards the Bailiffs. And such offenders if 
they will not justify themselves by reason of loss of work, in that case 
let them not be permitted to dwell in the city. 

Chapter 44TH. 

Also because the ditches of the city are not a little damaged by 
the fouling of divers animals let it be commonly proclaimed 4 times a 
year from street to street and from gate to gate that everyone having 
animals in the city cause them to be kept away from the ditches. And 
if it so be that one is in any way found in the same let it be seized 
and detained by the keepers of the gates until the master of that animal 
has paid towards the repair of the ditches or for murage one penny for 
every foot of an animal. And he who has so seized it shall have for 
his trouble one penny for every \d. thus received. So that by his oath 
he faithfully seize and keep all animals there found and wholly pay the 
money thus received to the aforesaid murage without any sparing, and 
to this every keeper of the gates that for the time may be shall swear 
once a year for ever, 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 9 1 

Capitulum quadragksimum quintum. 

Item quia conciues' ciuitatis predicte cum opus fuerit com- 
munem habere convocacionem pro communi commodo ciuitatis 
et patrie licet ita sit et [Put] somoneti sint ad veniendum de communi 
negocio tracturi venire non curant^ unde piura negocia ciuitatis 
sepius remanent infecta ad magnum dicte ciuitatis detrimentum 
pro tali somonicione facienda conuocando communitatem eandem 
fiat somonicio sicut fieri consueuit de melioribus et discrecioribus 
eiusdem ciuitatis ad conueniendum certis diebus eis assignatis per 
seruientem Balliuorum juratum de qualibet leta videlicet duodecim 
vel decern vel octo pro quantitate lete ad tractandum de communi 
negocio ciuitatis et ille seruiens cuiuslibet lete veniat paratus cum 
panello suo et proclamet omnes somonitos ad dictum diem. Ita 
quod fiat propria persone cuiuslibet somonitio vel ad eius domum uxori 
sue vel familie eiusdem et fideliter testificetur somonicio sibi facta 
et non alia. Et somoneti nominatim vocentur et super contumaces 
fiat crux et resomoneantur ad crastinum quod veniant coram balliuis 
et aliis bonis viris de ciuitate ad hoc intendentibus ad sanandum 

Chapter 4STH. 

Also because the fellow-citizens of the said city, when need has 
been to have a common assembly for the common advantage of 
the city and country, although it is the case that they have been 
summoned to come to treat of the common business, do not trouble 
to come whereby much business of the city often remains undone 
to the great detriment of the said city, for making such summons in 
calling the said community let the summons be made as it has been 
wont to be done of the better and more discreet persons of the said city 
to come on certain days assigned to them by the sworn sergeant of the 
Bailiffs from each leet, to wit, 12 or 10 or 8 according to the size of 
the leet to treat concerning the common business of the city, and the 
sergeant of every leet is to come prepared with his panel and proclaim 
all who have been summoned for that day. So that the summons of 
each particular person be made either at his house to his wife or to 
his household and let the summons made to him and no other be faith- 
fully testified. And let those summoned be called by name and let a 
cross be set against the contumacious and let them be resummoned for 
the morrow to come before the bailiffs and other good men of the city 
attending to this matter to purge their default if they can and set forth 

1 On the bearing which this and the two following chapters have on the question of 
the development of a select body of 24 citizens, see Introduction III. 9, and IV. 5. 

192 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

illam defaltatn si possint et racionabilem excusacionem ibidem 
pretendant si propter grauem infirmitatem fuerant impediti vel 
quod non fuerant in ciuitate tempore somonicionis predicte et 
super hiis faciant fidem. Et nisi sic poterit defaltam sanare vel 
alio modo fideli et euidenti vel racionabili se excusare amercietur 
ad duos solidos argenti unde balliui medietatem habebunt pro 
eorum labore et alia medietas communitati remanebit et illud 
amerciamentum statim leuetur sine aliqua dilacione per unum 
de seruientibus Balliuorum iuratum et clericum communitatis qui 
hoc communitati et Balliuis liberabunt. Et camerarii idem faciant 
irrotulari quid quantum et a quibus recipietur per annum et inter 
cetera inde reddant compotum suum. Et tales somoniciones non 
fiant ad communitatem conuocandam nisi ad dies solempnes quando 
forum non sit in ciuitate propter commodum mercatorum et eorum 
impedimentum nisi ita sit quod oporteat fieri pro aliquo speciali 
negocio tangente specialiter dominum Regem vel urgentissimum 
negocium ciuitatis tocius ubi vertitur periculum eiusdem in quo 
casu non potest aliquod tempus [sic] haberi consideracio. 

Capitulum quadragesimum sextum. 

Item ut quodcunque artificium siue officium in ciuitate usitatum 

there a reasonable excuse, whether they had been hindered by grievous 
sickness or that they had not been in the city at the time of the aforesaid 
summons, and let them give assurance [? by oath] on these points. And if 
a man cannot so purge his default or in any other way faithfully and plainly 
and reasonably excuse himself let him be amerced in two shillings of silver 
whereof the bailiffs shall have half and the other half shall remain to the 
community and let that amercement be forthwith levied without any delay 
by a sworn sergeant of the Bailiffs and the clerk of the community who 
shall deliver it to the community and the Bailiffs. And let the chamber- 
lains cause it to be enrolled what how much and from whom it is received 
annually and amongst other things let them render their account thereof 
And such summonses are not to be made for calling together the community 
except on holy days, when there is no market in the city, by reason of the 
convenience of the merchants and their hindrance, unless it be that it ought 
to be done for some special business specially touching the lord King or 
very urgent business of the whole city wherein turns peril to the same, 
in which case no consideration of any time can be had. 

Chapter 46TH. 
Also in order that every craft or industry used in the city may be 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 193 

bene et fideliter et sine fraude usitetur secundum quod debet ita quod 
scandalum contra ciuitatem in premissis non poterit oriri. Et 
eligantur singulis annis per balliuos et viginti quatuor de ciuitate 
communiter electos duo vel tres vel quatuor de potencioribus et 
fide dignioribus de singulis officiis seu aliis qui noticiam habent in 
premissis secundum maioritatem et minoritatem cuiuslibet officii seu 
artificii in ciuitate usitati. Et illi electi iurentur super sacrosanctis 
euangeliis quod bene et fideliter et plene singuli eorum officia seu 
artificia in ciuitate usitata frequenter visitabunt et scrutabunt ad minus 
quater in anno et alias si necesse fuerit per medium et per totum 
in quantum^ possint [ita] quod fraus dolus nee falsitas in eisdem 
officiis seu artificiis aut operibus operetur fiat vel usitetur quoquomodo 
et hoc sine alicui parcendo et quod omnem fraudem dolum et falsita- 
tem quandocunque et quotienscunque per ipsos inueniatur bene fideli- 
ter ac totum modum inuentum absque aliqua ficcione seu coloracione 
Balliuis et viginti quatuor presentabunt sine aliquo concelamento ut 
prefati Balliui et xxiiii"' nomine communitatis electi debitas et com- 
petentes inde facere possint emendas et huiusmodi scandalum 
quatenus est in ipsis amouere et delinquentes sic punire et 

used well and faithfully and without fraud according as it ought, so that 
no scandal should arise against the city in such matters, let there be 
chosen every year by the bailiffs and twenty-four of the city commonly 
elected" 2 or 3 or 4 of the more able discreet and trustworthy of each 
industry or others who have knowledge in such matters according 
to the greater or smaller size of each industry or craft used in the 
city. And let those elected be sworn on the holy Gospels that 
well and faithfully arid fully every one of them will visit and 
search every industry or craft used in the city frequently at least 
4 times a year and at other times if it should be necessary in part or 
in whole so far as they can so that no fraud deceit or falsity in the 
said industries or crafts or works may be wrought done or used in 
any way, and that without sparing any, and that every fraud deceit or 
falsity whensoever and how often soever it is by them found they 
will well and faithfully and the whole method found without any 
feigning or colouration present to the Bailiffs and 24 without any 
concealment in order that the Bailiffs and 24 elected in the name of the 
community may exact due and sufficient amends thereof and so far as 
in them lies may remove such scandal, and so punish and chastise the 

' Th? MS, has "sciant" before "possint." 


1 94 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

castigare ut ceteri in hoc capiant exemplum in futuro et ad 
honorem totius ciuitatis et in eadem degencium et patrie comodum 
vertatur et honorem ciuitatis cedat in posterum. Et si ipsi iurati et 
electi ad faciendum negligentes se habeant et super hoc conuin- 
cantur aut aliquod concelamentum fecerint in premissis per 
communem consideracionem viginti quatuor electorum a communi- 
tate grauiter amercientur ut consensientes huiusmodi falsitatibus 
in ciuit^te perpetratis contra iuramentum suum et deponantur 
et alii loco ipsorum statim eligantur et iurentur, 

Capitulum quadragesimum septimum. 
Item quia tallagia et cetere mise pro auxilio et necessitate 
ciuitatis communi sepius assessa et imposita a quibusdam leuantur 
et a quibusdam non unde medius' populus ciuitatis illius et pauperes 
in eadem degentes et conuersantes grauiter se sensiant lesos et 
grauatos collectores ad huiusmodi tallagia et misas deputati et 
receptores ac camerarii ciuitatis quicunque fuerint teneantur singulis 
annis compotum inde reddere ad festum natiuitatis beate Marie et 

delinquents that others may take example thereat for the future and 
that it may turn to the honour of the whole city and those that dwell 
therein and the advantage of the country and may further the honour 
of the city henceforth. And if those who are sworn and elected to do 
this conduct themselves with negligence and be convicted thereon or do 
any concealment in such matters, let them be heavily amerced by 
the common decision of the 24 elected by the community as consenting 
to such falsities committed in the city (contrary to their oath) and let 
them be deposed and others forthwith elected and sworn in their place. 

Chapter 47TH. 

Also because tallages and other payments for the aid and common 
need of the city often when assessed and imposed are levied from some 
and from some not, whereby the middle people of the city and the poor 
dwelling and making their living therein feel themselves grievously injured 
and burdened, let the collectors appointed for such tallages and payments 
and the receivers and the chamberlains of the city, whosoever they are, 
be bound every year to render an account thereof at the feast of the 
Nativity of the Blessed Mary and at other times of the year when it 

1 The mention of ' ' middle people " besides ' ' great " (or rich) and poor is unusual. It 
occurs in a Petition which also refers to taJ^ation. (Ancient Petition, 6435, No. XXXVI.) 
See Introduction III. 2, 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 195 

alias in anno cum visum fuerit coram viginti quatuor vel maiore 
parte eorundem qui in ciuitate fuerint et hoc per iuramentum a 
singulis recipiendum. Et cum fideliter computauerint et recepta 
sua una cum arreragiis si que tunc fuerint plene reddiderunt fiat 
eis bona adquietancia que sit eis competens pro ipsis et heredibus 
et executoribus suis pro tempore quo fuerunt collectores in 
premissis. Ita quod possint scire ubi et in quibus usis pecunia 
sic leuata expensa fuerit^ per quod medius populus et pauperes 
predict! ultra modum non grauentur. Et quod maiores iion 
transeant quieti ut actenus fecerunt. Et quod huiusmodi tallagia 
et mise cum oporteant imponi semper imponantur per discretiores 
cuiuslibet operis usitati in ciuitate predicta ad hoc specialiter de 
communi consensu electos et iuratos quociens necesse fuerit et 
non per alios nisi in eorum defectu. 

Capitulum quadragesimum octauum. 
Item execuciones post iudicia in curia ciuitatis reddita in 
placito debiti transgressionis seu alio quocunque mode ubi dampna 
sunt disrationata statim precipiatur districcio facienda pro dampnis 

seems good before the 24 or the major part of them who shall be in 
the city and that by oath to be taken from each one of them. And when 
they have faithfully accounted and fully rendered their receipts together 
with arrears if there were any then, let a good acquittance be made to 
them which shall be sufficient for them, for themselves and their heirs 
and executors, for the time when they were collectors in the above. 
So that they may know where and in what uses the money so levied 
was spent, whereby the middle people and the poor aforesaid may not 
be burdened beyond measure and that the greater men may not go 
through quit as hitherto they have done. And that such tallages 
and payments when they have to be imposed may always be imposed by 
the discreeter of every work used in the city aforesaid for this purpose 
specially elected and sworn by common consent as often as need shall 
be and by no others save in their default. 

Chapter 48TH. 

Also [with regard to] executions after judgments rendered in the 
court of the city in a plea of debt trespass or in any other way where 
damages are proved let order be at once given for making distraint for 

1 This chapter may be based on one of the Ordinances granted to London by 
Edward 11. in 1319 (Birch, Historical Charters, &c., p. 46). 

196 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

sicut pro principali bene ad valorem rei disrationate et amplius 
et ille districciones ponantur in certa custodia. Et dicatur illi 
super quem talis districcio currit quod ipse satisfaciat aduersario 
suo infra octo dies proxiinos sequentes. Et nisi fecerit et permittat 
fieri super ipsum aliam districcionem et primam per illos octo 
dies non adquietauerit Ita quod contempiiit satisfacere per 
quindenam tunc pro illo contemptu veniat prima districcio in 
plenam curiam coram Balliuis et aliis de curia ilia et ibidem in 
presencia illius super quem fiet districcio si venire velit ad hoc 
premunitus apprecietur ilia districcio per iuramentum fide dig- 
norum et liberetur statim illi qui disrationauit versus eundem per 
idem precium appreciatum. Et si ilia districcio plus apprecietur 
quam res disracionata se extendit residuum valoris eiusdem fideliter 
restituatur illi a quo capta fuit ilia districcio. Et similiter fiat 
de districcionibus factis pro communi auxilio ciuitatis et liberentur 
camerariis eiusdem. 

Capitulum quadragesimum nonum. 
Item quod seruientes narrantes^ pro clientulis suis in curia 

damages as for principal to the full value of the thing proved and more 
and let those distraints be placed in sure keeping. And let him on whom 
such distraint runs be told to give satisfaction to his adversary within 
8 days next following. And if he does not do it and suffer another 
distraint to be made upon him and has not acquitted the first distraint 
during those 8 days so that he neglects to give satisfaction for a fortnight 
then for that contempt let the first distraint come into full court before 
the Bailiffs and others of that court and there in the presence of him on 
whom the distraint shall be made, if he wills to come having had warning 
thereof, let that distraint be appraised by oath of trustworthy men and 
let it be forthwith delivered to him who has proved against him at the 
price appraised. And if the distraint is appraised at more than the extent 
of the thing proved, let the residue of the value be faithfully restored to 
him from whom the distraint was taken. And in like manner be it 
done with distraints made for the common aid of the city and let them 
be delivered to the Chamberlains of the same. 

Chapter 49TH. 
Also that sergeants pleading for their clients in the city court who 

' Sergeant Counters. For the London regulations, see London Lib, Cust. (Riley), 
p. 280. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 197 

ciuitatis qui de eadem sunt oriundi manuteneant et defendant pro 
posse suo leges et consuetudines illius ciuitatis tarn infra ciuitatem 
quam extra ciuitatem et quod pro nullo extraneo nee alio in nullo 
casu illas contraplacitabunt. Et ad quodlibet festum sancti Michaelis 
coram Balliuis sint iurati. Et quod nullus eorum in curia coram 
balliuis socios suos nee aduersarium suum verbis contumelliosis vel 
inhonestis afficiet nee ibidem rixam faciet cum rancore ymmo 
clientulo suo bono modo et honesto deseruiat prout decet. Et 
si aliquis eorum fecit contrarium et ad hoc fuerit assuetus postquam 
ter fuerit monitus quod desistat et honeste se habeat et disistere 
contempserit pro tali contemptu et gestu suo inhonesto de narrando 
in dicta causa in dicta curia suspendatur quousque se emendet et 
gratiam communitatis inde habere meruerit. 

Capitulum quinquagesimum. 
Item quod illi qui fuerint electi Balliui ciuitatis ad custodiam 
eiusdem faciendam nullo modo recusent illud onus suscipere cum 
ad hoc per communitatem fuerunt electi ut pares' ciuitatis sub 
antiqua pena antiqurtus in eadem posita videlicet soluendo com- 
munitati ad negocia ciuitatis quadraginta solidos. Et ilia pena 

are sprung from the same are to maintain and defend according to 
their power the laws and customs of the city as well within the city 
as without, and that for no stranger or other in any case shall they 
counterplead against them. And let them be sworn before the Bailiffs 
at every feast of St. Michael. And let none of them in court in presence 
of the bailiffs treat their fellows nor their adversary with contumelious 
and dishonest words nor make strife there with rancour, yea rather let 
him serve his client in good manner and honest as is fit. And if any 
of them does the contrary and is wont so to do, after that he has been 
thrice warned that he desist and hold himself honestly and has refused 
to desist, for such his contempt and dishonest behaviour let him be 
suspended from pleading in the said cause in the said court until he 
amend himself and deserve to have grace of the community thereof. 

Chapter soth. 

Also that those who shall be elected Bailiffs of the city to have 
the keeping thereof may in no wise refuse to take up that charge 
when they have been elected to it by the community as peers of the 
city under the ancient penalty of old imposed in the same, to wit, to 

^ This is introduced to show that they are bound to take up the burden. 

198 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

festinanter leuetur per balliuos tempore eleccionis existentes a 
quocunque recusante nisi infra triduum post suam eleccionem 
onus suscipiat et nulli parcatur in hac parte Et si huiusmodi 
penam ab aliquo onus suscipere nolente ut predicitur leuare 
[poterint] statim per electores deputatos alius ydoneus loco illius 
eligatur et iuretur. Et ad omnia ista observanda firmiter et 
tenenda iurent Balliui singulis annis die eleccionis eorum super 
sancta euangelia. 

Capitulum quinquagesimum primum. 
Item Balliui ciuitatis singulis annis in eorum eleccione iurabunt 
quod et fideliter domino Rcgi seruiant in officio balliuorum in 
toto illo anno pro ilia ciuitate custodienda et quod bene fideliter et 
debito niodo populum ciuitatis tractabunt faciendo diuitibus et 
pauperibus iusticiam equalem pro posse suo. Et quod leges 
libertates et consuetudines ipsius ciuitatis supradictas ct alias 
quibus hactenus usi sunt ciues eiusdem ab antiquo bene et fideliter 
illesas inuiolabiliter conseruabunt. Et quod firmam suam in 
acquietanciam ciuitatis plene persoluent et communitatem inde 

pay to the community for the business of the city 40 shillings. And 
let that penalty be hastily levied by the Bailiffs being at the time of 
the election from everyone that refuses unless within 3 days after his 
election he take up the charge, and let none be spared in this matter. 
And if they can levy such penalty from anyone unwilling to take up 
the charge as is aforesaid, forthwith by the appointed electors let 
another fit person be elected and sworn in his place. And let the 
Bailiffs swear every year on the day of their election on the holy 
Gospels to observe these things and firmly keep them. 

Chapter sist. 

Also the Bailiffs of the city every year on their election shall swear 
that they will both faithfully serve the lord King in the office of Bailiffs 
in that whole year for keeping the city, and that faithfully and in due 
manner they will treat the people of the city doing equal justice to 
rich and poor according to their power. And that the laws liberties 
and customs aforesaid of the said city and others which the citizens 
ot the same have heretofore used of old they will well and faithfully 
and inviolably keep unbroken. And that they will fully pay their 
farm in acquittance of the city and thereof will faithfully acquit the 
community. And that in doing executions of judgments rendered 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 1 99 

ndeliter acquietabunt' Et quod execuciones iudiciorum coram 
ipsis redditorum faciendas sine alicui parcendo secundum ciuitatis 
consuetudinem facient in omnibus punctis Et prefatas leges 
libertates et consuetudines fouebunt et manutenebunt in omnibus. 
Et quod forinsecum'' non permittent in ciuitate morari ad mercan- 
disas aliquas faciendas sicut parem ville illius nisi prius fecerit 
solempniter iiitroitum suum coram electis ad hoc per communitatem 
ciuitatis predicte. Et quod si aliquem poterunt inuenire niercandisas 
in ciuitate exercentem ut premittitur contra ordinacionem prius 
ordinatam omnia bona illius que in ciuitate poterunt inueniri 
statim cum de hoc eisdem constiterit saisire faciant et saluo 
custodient quousque satisfecerit pro huiusmodi transgressione et 
post hoc iuret quod talia in posterum non committat in ciuitate 
quousque deuenerit par ciuitatis ut predictum est ad quod faciendum 
compellatur si in ciuitate moram facere velit. 

before them they will do in all points according to the custom of the 
city without sparing anyone. And the aforesaid laws liberties and 
customs they will cherish and maintain in all things. And that they 
will not permit a foreigner to tarry in the city to do any merchandise 
as a peer of the town unless he has first solemnly made his entry 
before those elected for this purpose by the community of the city 
aforesaid. And that if they can find any one practising merchandise 
in the city, as is premised, contrary to the ordinance before ordained 
they will forthwith, when they are plainly informed thereof, cause to be 
seized all his goods which can be found in the said city and safely 
keep them until he shall give satisfaction for this offence and thereupon 
swear that he will not commit such things in future in the city until 
he become a peer of the city as is aforesaid, to doing which let him be 
compelled if he wills to tarry in the city. 

Extracts from Assize and Presentment Rolls. 

L. — Placita Corone in Comitatu Norff' in Crastino Natiuitatis 
beate Marie coram H. de Bathonia et sociis suis Justiciariis 
Itinerantibus Anno regni Regis Henrici filii Regis Johannis 
tricesimo quarto. (Sept. 9'^ 1250). \^Case 8a i, copied in Book 
of Pleas, fol. 26]. 

1 This was a. personal obligation laid on the Bailififs as officers of the King, occupying 
in this respect the position of a Sheriff of a county. 

2 In place of this word the copyist in the Book of Pleas has written " firmam stiam." 
The emendation is obvious. 

200 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Ciuitas Norwici venit per xij Juratores.^ 

Juratores presentant quod iiij parochie^ propinquiores debent 
venire ad inquisicionem habendaai de quolibet mortuo et quod 
tota ciuitas est in decenna." 

Pleas of the Crown in the County of Norfolk on the Morrow of the 
Nativity of the blessed Mary before Henry de Bath and his fellows 
Justices Itinerant in the 34th year of the reign of King Henry son of 
King John. 

The City of Norwich comes by 12 Jurors. 

The Jurors present that 4 neighbouring parishes ought to come 
to hold an inquest on a dead body, and that the whole city is in 

Gerardus Godefolche cecidit de quodam batillo In aquam de 
Wensum Ita quod statim submersit. Ricardus Godfelage primus 
Inuentor* non venit nee malecreditur. Et fuit attachiatus per 
Willelmum de Kirkeby et Johannem filium Willelmi de Witton. 
Idee in misericordia. Nullus inde malecreditur. Judicium 
Infortunium. Precium batelli vj." unde Prior Norwici respondebit. 
Et xij Juratores celauerunt quod cecidit de batello nee aliquam 
mencionem inde fecerunt nee Inuentor in presentia. Ideo in 
misericordia. Et ,postea testatum est quod Coronator ipsius 
Ciuitatis non venit ad Inquisicionem faciendam de predicto 
mortuo. Et quare non fecit Inquisicionem &c. dicit quod 
predictus Gerardus inuentus fuit super feodum Prioris Norwici" 

1 Each Hundred had to send 12 men to meet the Itinerant Justices. Norwich was a. 
Hundred by itself. 

^ In Norwich parishes were summoned for the same purposes as vills or townships in 
the country. For the character of an Eyre (or Iter) and its far-reaching investigations, see 
Maitland, Crcami Pleas in the County of Gloucester, Introduction, pp. xxiii., &c. For 
matters connected with the office and work of the Coroners, see Gross, Coroners'' Rolls 
[Selden Soc., vol. ix). 

' The whole city was organised according to the Frankpledge system. For an 
explanation of the system, and how it was worked in Norwich, see Introduction, Section 

^ The first finder of a dead body, the nearest neighbours, and any suspected persons 
were all attached to appear before the Coroner. 

° Anything which directly or indirectly caused the death of a person was forfeited as a 
"deodand" (gift to God). The price of it was kept by some responsible person, whose 
name would be entered on the Coroners' Roll. These Rolls were returned to the Itinerant 
Justices, who demanded payment of all forfeits or reported the non-payment to the King's 

" The disputes between the Citizens and the Prior as to jurisdiction on his exempt fee 
will be discussed in Vol. II. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 201 

quod est infra cinctum Ciuitatis. Et bene dicit quod non potest 
intrare in terram predicti Prions ad inquisicionem faciendam de 
mortuo &c. Et juratores hoc idem testantur et quod homines 
predicti Prioris in eodem feodo non participant in communitate 
Ciuitatis. Et super hoc venit Willelmus de Hakeford Senescallus 
predicti Prioris et dicit quod feodum illud est quedam soca de 
libertate Prioris et nunquam solebat communicare cum ciuitate 
nee eciam coram Justiciariis Itinerantibus nee quod Coronator 
istius Ciuitatis non debet intrare illam socam pro aliquo casu 
emergente. Et predictus Senescallus requisitus ubi debeat 
predicta soca respondere vel cum hundredo vel cum Ciuitate 
dicit quod semper solebat respondere per se^ et quod nullus 
Coronator forinsecus venire debet in eandem socam et facere 
Inquisicionem &c. Et quia conuictum est quod predicta soca 
non venit aliquo modo coram Justiciariis nee per se nee cum 
hundredo &c. Ideo tota soca in misericordia. 

[Abstract]. — Gerard Godfolche fell from a boat into the Wensum 
and was drowned. No one was suspected. Judgment, accident. The 
price of the boat was 5 shillings for which the Prior of Norwich will 
answer. The Coroner of the City had not held an inquest. He said 
the spot was within the City but on the fee of the Prior on which he 
might not enter. This the Jurors confirm. William de Hakeford the 
Prior's Steward being questioned says that the fee is a soke in the 
liberty of the Prior and does not share with the City and does not 
answer with the city nor the hundred [of Blofield] but by itself As it 
had not answered in any way, it was declared to be at the King's 

LI. — Willelmus Ribold latro probalor' appellat Willelmum 
Noche de Norvvico de receptamento latrocinii et de societate 
latronuni, et quod occidit quendam hominem in presencia sua In 
Villa de Norwico in domo sua propria et quod idem Willelmus 
Ribald tulit ipsum moriuum extra ciuitatem in bosco de Torp 
per consensum et auxilium et consilium &c. Et quod hoc fecit 
nequiter et in felonia sicut socius suus &c. offert probare per 

1 By itself or independently, not as Blomefield (iii. 48) "by him, their Steward. " The 
Steward claimed that the Prior's soke did not answer with the Hundred of Blofield (within 
which it claimed to be) nor with the City of Norwich. The present proceedings were in 
connection with the City, but it would seem that he had not attended when the Hundred of 
Blofield had been called, and had made no separate report. 

2 An "approver," a guilty man who was pardoned on condition of securing the 
conviction of other felons. 

202 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

corpus suutn^ &c. Et Willelmus Noche venit et defendit 
latrocinium et societatem &c. et quod nunquam fuit in societate 
sua ad aliquem hominem occidendum nee aliquod latrocinium 
nee aliquam feloniam faciendam et totum &c. Et hoc offert 
defendere secundum consuetudinem Ciuitatis London que in hac 
ciuitate debet teneri secundum cartam" quam proferunt de libertate 
&c. Et quod consuetudo Ciuitatis London talis est de homine 
rettato de homicidio [quod] debent eligere xij [? xviij] juratores 
ex parte una de Wallebrok^ et xij [? xviij] ex altera et tunc 
predictus rettatus de aliqua morte venit coram Justiciariis &c. et 
jurabit super sacramentum suum quod nunquam talis homo de 
qua morte rettatus est per se vel perquisitum suum propinquior 
morti nee remotior vite. Et si illi xxxvj elect! et sponte iurati 
sibi testimonium de bono Sacramento perhibent quietus est de 
morte ilia. Et si defecerit in ilia probacione Ita quod unus de 
xxxvj juratoribus nolit cum eo facere sacramentum fiat de eo 
Judicium &c. Eodem modo tenetur in Ciuitate ista. Et predictus 
Willelmus Noche venit et fecit sacramentum suum. Et testimonium 
perhibent sacramento suo xviij Juratores ex parte una aque 
Norwici et xviij Juratores ex altera. Et predictus Willelmus 
sacramentum suum testimonio xxxvj Juratorum compleuit. Ideo 
consideratum est quod eat iude quietus de predicta morte Jocelini. 
Et postea reqiiisitus qualiter se vult acquietare de latrocinio et 
societate et receptamento latrocinii dicit quod ponit se super xij 
juratores Ciuitatis de bono et nialo. Et juratores dicunt quod 
non est culpabilis de aliquo malefacto. Ideo inde quietus. 

[Abstract]. — William Ribold, a thief and approver, appeals William 
Noche of receipt of larceny, of keeping company with thieves and in 
his presence and with his help murdering a man named Joscelin and 
burying his body in Thorp wood. This he offers to prove with his 
body [by duel]. William Noche denies all the charges and claims, by 
virtue of the city's Charter of Liberties, to defend himself according to 
the custom of the City of London where a man accused of homicide 
may choose i8 men from one side of Walbrook and i8 from the other, 
and if all the 36 separately by their oaths confirm his oath of innocence 
he may go quit. This being allowed, he chooses 18 men from one side 
of the Norwich river and 18 from the other, who all confirm his oath 

1 By a judicial combat. 

2 The Charter produced would be that of 13 H. III. (No. VI.). 

^ This mode of defence was called in London the "Great Law." See London Liber 
Albus, pp. 56 and no. "xii " here is evidently a mistake for "xviii." 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich, 203 

and he is acquitted. Afterwards on the charge of larceny &c. he puts 
himself on a jury of 12 citizens, who declare him not guilty. He goes 

[The following documents (from LII. to LXVIII.) are from a Roll 
commonly called a "Coroners' Roll." They are the presentments made 
by the Coroners to the King's Justices at the Iter held in Norfolk in 
November 53 Henry HI. (1268). They relate to matters from which 
deodands, forfeits, or other dues may have accrued to the King since 
the preceding Iter in 41 Henry HI. (1257). {Case Sa 2.)] 

In the time of William de Dunwich, Alexander de Refham, 
Geoffrey de Verley and John de Melton then Bailiffs of Norwich.' 

LH. — Clarisia, widow of Richard de Kerbroc, accuses Robert de 
Bromholm, vintner, of breaking her arm with a hatchet on 21 October 
1263, so maiming her. She has pursued the charge from court to 
court and offers to prove it as a woman maimed against a man or, if 
the court decides that she is not maimed, as a woman against a man, 
(tnemb. i.) 

Clarisia que fuit uxor Ricardi de Kerbroc apellat Robertum 
de Bromholm, vinitarium, et dicit quod ubi fuit in pace Dei at 
domini Regis die dominica proxima ante festum Apostolorum 
Simonis et Jude anno regni regis H. filii regis J. xlvii° In villa 
de Norwico ad horam meridianam In parochia sancti Georgii 
ante portam sancte Trinitatis ante mangnum hostium taberne 
dicti Roberti ex parte orientali contra tabernam [quam] Idem 
Robertus tenet de Johanne le Skot ibi venit dictus Robertas 
nequiter et in felonia et contra pacem domini regis et insultauit 
illam et de dorso cuiusdam hachie de netthe^ gross' os brachii 
sinistri fregit in medio loco inter catem et manum Ita quod ipsa 
est mahemiata. Ac cito post feloniam ipsam factam ipsi leuauit 
hutesium et clamorem et sequebatur de parochia in parochiam 
usque ad coronatores, de coronatoribus usque ad primam curiam 
et sic de curia in curiam usque adhuc.'' Istam feloniam nequiter 

1 These Bailiffs began their year of office at Michaelmas, 1263. The presentments 
relating to the earlier years of the interval are lost. 

2 ? Neat, cattle. A hatchet for killing oxen. 

^ This is a good description of the long process through which an injured person had 
often to seek redress. Hue and cry must be raised at once to get witnesses. Then when 
the Coroner decided that a crime had been committed, the person suspected was "exacted" 
(summoned) at several successive County Courts held monthly by the Sheriff of the County. 
Then if he were captured and imprisoned it might be some years before the King's Justices 

204 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

et in felonia fecit ei, et offert probare sicut mulier mahemiata 
versus hominem per quod curia domini regis considerat, et si 
curia domini regis considerat quod non sit mahemiata offert 
probare sicut mulier versus hominem. Claricia predicta inuenit 
plegios de prosequendo Ricardum Dunis et Henricum Punel. 
Robertus de Biomholm attachiatur per Robertum fourelouis et 
Alexandrum de Treuse. 

LIII. — Katerine, widow of Stephen Justice, accuses 8 persons of 
feloniously breaking into her house on 22 November 1263 and doing 
great damage and robbery, and burning the body of her husband which 
at the time lay dead on a bier. She had constantly pursued the charge. 
The Bailiffs are ordered to arrest them and make answer.* (Case 8 a 2, 
m 2.) 

Katerina uxor Stephani Justice appellat Radulfum filium 
Roberti, Andream le Gaoler, Willelmum Virly Gaunter," Willelmum 
Giedi, Walterum de Derham, Johannem seruientem Nicholai de 
Ingham, Nicholaum quondam seruientem Nicholai de Lopham et 
Nicholaum le Gayver et dicit quod ubi fuit in pace Dei et domini 
regis In domo Stephani Justice viri eius In nocte Jouis prox' post 
festum sancti Eadmundi Regis anno regni regis H. filii regis J. 
xlviij° Ibi venerunt predicti Radulfus, Andreas, Willelmus, Willelmus, 
Walterus, Johannes, Nicholaus et Nicholaus felonice quasi felones 
in assaltu premeditato contra pacem domini regis In villa Norwici 
In Fibriggate In parochia sancti dementis et fregerunt portas 
suas quercine [sic] et gundas' et vertenelas de ferro fregerunt cum 
hachiis de netthis et cum hachiis grossis cunyes et cum gladiis 
cutellis et maces fregerunt et in curiam jactauerunt et intrauerunt 
felonice quasi felones et hostia aule de sap^ fregerunt et vertenelas 
et ferramentum de hostia [sic] predicta et vincula et barras 

came on their Eyre. This entry relates to a crime committed five years before the Assize at 
which it was reported. Before the close of the 13th century the practice was adopted of 
appointing local magnates by special and frequent commissions to deliver gaols of their 
prisoners. See Introduction XI. 6. 

^ This and several other cases on these Rolls are commented upon by Mr. Harrod in 
Norfolk Archeology, ii. 257 and vii. 264. 

'' Glover. 

^ Gundas, perhaps = gumfos, door bands, Wright-Wiilcher Vocabularies, 733, 25 ; 
vertinelos, troystes or hinges, ibidem, 618, 48, and Leicester Records, i. 246, ii. 166. The 
"oaken gates" would lead from the street into the courtyard in which the "hall" or 
dwelling-house stood. 

^ ? Pine. 

Selected Records of the City of Novwich. 205 

de fenestris fregerunt et bordas quercine de fenestris predictis 
similiter quasi felones et post ea ad hostium camere aule versus 
austrum felonice intrauerunt et illam cameram robbauerunt [sic] 
scilicet de duobus gladiis precii trium solidorum et v\d. et una 
anlacia^ mancie yuorie precii xij(/. et unum [sic] palet de ferro 
precii x^. et unum baculum de ferro precii \\\]d. et unum 
quirre de vaccine cum plateis ferreis precii dimidie marce et unum 
Wambeis et postea cameram predictam exierunt et in aula intraue- 
runt felonice quasi felones et corpus Stephani predicti viri sui 
ubi iacuit super beram combusserunt et unum chalonem de reyns^ 
quod [sic] iacuit super beram precii quatuor solidorum similiter 
combusserunt et una lintheamina" [sic] precii xviijV. similiter. Istam 
feloniam roberiam burgeriam fecerunt predicti scilicet Radulfus 
. . . et Nicholaus eodem anno et eadem nocte quasi felones 
roberia predicta felonice asportauerunt. Katerina predicta statim 
leuauit hutesium et clamorem de vico in vicum de parochia in 
parochiam de domo ad domum quousque venit in presentia 
Balliuorum et Coronatorum et adhuc sequitur versus predictos per 
quod curia domini Regis considerat. Et similiter robbauerunt [sic] 
lineam telam* precii v solidorum et unam caperon de pers cum 
furrura de schurellis precii y.d. similiter robbauerunt. Et preceptum 
est Baliiuis capere predictos. Balliui respondeant. Plegii de 
prosequendo Johannes de Heylesdon et Willelmus de Catton. 

LIV. — The Coroners and Bailiffs having held an Inquest on the 
bodies of 2 persons killed on i May 1264, and having entered the facts 
on a schedule, Master Mark de Brunhale clerk and Ralph Knicht with 
many others came and threatened to cut the Coroners into little pieces 
unless they gave up the schedule. Afterwards they seized Roger the 
Coroner, took him to his house and made him give them the schedule 
out of his chest. They then took it to the church of S'- Peter Mancroft 
and cut it to pieces. The Coroners said they could not hold an enquiry 
on this outrage on account of the threatened war. {Case 8 a 2, m. 2). 

Memorandum quod Henricus Turnecurt et Stephanus de 
Balsham occisi fuerunt In Norwico In parochia sancti Georgii 
ante portam sancte Trinitatis die Apostolorum Philippi et Jacobi 
anno predicto. Coronatores et Balliui accesserunt et fecerunt 
Inquisicionem. Inquisicione inde facta et in cedula deducta, postea 

' An ivory-handled dagger, an iron breastplate, an iron mace or club, a cuirass of 
cowhide with iron plates and a doublet. ^ A blanket of Rheims. ' A sheet. 

^ Linen web ; a cape of pers (a blue-grey cloth, Halliwell) with squirrels' fur. 

2o6 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

venerunt magister Marcus de Brunhale clericus et Radulfus Knict 
cum pkiribus aliis minando predictos coronatores ad cindendos 
eos [sic] in minutis particulis nisi reddidissent predictam cedulam. 
Et postea ceperunt Rogerum coronatorem et vi duxerunt eum 
ad domum suam propiiam cum gladiis et Hachiis quousque idem 
Rogerus cepit predictam cedulam de Archa sua et citius reduxerunt 
predictum Rogerum cum cedula prenominata ad ecclesiam sancti 
Petri de Mannecroft et ibi predictus Radulfus predictam cedulam 
vi de manu predicti Rogeri abstulit et asportauit et coram consociis 
suis de numero stultorum scidit in minutas particulas. Et vix 
idem Rogerus cum magno timore et tremore euasit de manibus 
eorum. Et dixerunt quod non deberent facere inquisicionem de 
huiusmodi propter imminentem guerram.^ 

LV. — On account of the same threatening war the Coroners could 
not hold an inquest on the body of William Cope of Lakenham who 
was killed by a fall of earth. 

Preterea contigit quod quidam homo nomine Willelmus Cope 
de Lakaham deberet fodere sub terra in curia Walteri le parche- 
miner. Ipso fodiente cecidit terra super eum, unde habuit mortem. 
Coronatores non fuerunt ausi facere inquisicionem propter immi- 
nentem gwerram et propter predictum nuinerum stultorum. 

LVI. — Four parishes make oath that William le Alblaster and others 
by setting fire to a gate caused the burning of the house of John de 
Belaya on lo June 1264. They also stole the clappers and cut the 
cords of the bells of the neighbouring churches lest people should come 
to extinguish the fire. (Case 8 a 2, m. 3.^ 

Parochie sancti Petri de Parmenterigate, sancti Vedasti, sancti 
Martini de Ballia et sancti Michaelis de Cunesford. Jurat' dicunt 
super sacramentum suum quod Willelmus le Alblaster de Castro 
minauit Johannem le lindraper ad comburendum et Johannes de 
Rendlesham et Thomas le despenser^ de castro similiter cum istis, 
scilicet Henrico Punel, Simone le longe et Willelmo bonehay, et 
quod Willelmus le Alblaster posuit ignem super portam inter 
predictum Johannem le Lindraper et Johannem de Belaya unde 
domus predicti Johannis de Belaya combussit in nocte diei martis 

^ War had already commenced between King Henry and the Barons under Simon de 

^iSteward of the Castle, 

Selected Records of the City of Noi"wich. 207 

proxime in peiitecoste anno regni regis Henrici xl° octauo, et 
quod Willelmus prenominatus de dome Roberti Fabii locsmit 
exiit et ad earn rediit post predictam feloniam factam. Dicunt et 
quod predicti furauerunt baterellos' cimbalarum ecclesie sancti 
Petri de Parmenterigate et scindebant cordas cimbalarum 
ecclesiarum sancti Vedasti et sancti Cuthberti ne aliquis veniret 
ad extinguendum ignem. Dicunt et quod Willelmus le Neue 
qui habet frequenter accessum ad domum Mathilde la Wymplere 
in parochia sancti Juliani fuit ad istum factum. Unde preceptijm 
fuit attachiare predictos malefactores. 

In the time of Adam de Toftes, John Scoth, Roger de Swerdeston 
and William Picot Bailiffs.^ {Case 8 a 2, m. 4.) 

LVII. — Four parishes present that the dead body of Reginald the 
baker having been found, Roger Olot of Fornsete who was also found 
on the spot confessed that he had killed him. He had been kept in the 
City prison. The Bailiffs will answer for him. 

Parochie sancti Andree, sancti Petri de Hundegate, sancti 
Michaelis de placitis et sancte Margarete de Neubrig. Juratores 
dicunt super sacramentum suum quod quidam homo nomine 
Reginaldus pistor Inuentus fuit mortuus et occisus in feodo Petri 
Buch et Rogerus Olot de fornsete ibidem inuentus fuit in eodem 
feodo. Qui cognouit coram coronatoribus et Balliuis ipsum 
occidisse eum cum quodam baculo. Et idem Rogerus captus fuit 
et detentus in prisona Norwici. Balliui respondeant. In catallis 
nichil habuit. 

LVIII. — Ralph de Hadestok, an approver in Norwich Castle, accuses 
2 men and 2 women of having received stolen goods from him, for which 
they still owed him money. 

Radulphus de Hadestok probator in castro Norwici appellat 
Willelmum de Worthsted seruientem Walteri Marescalli de iij 
pullanis noctanter furatis et receptatis ab eo Radulfo. Et idem 
W. tenetur eidem R. in -as. pro uno equo furato eidem W. vendito. 
Item appellat Radulphum de Couteshale de una Juuenca noctanter 
furata et de eodem R probatore empto et receptato unde adhuc 
tenetur in xxx(£ Item appellat Sibyllam leym de receptamento 
pannorum et tapetorum^ furatorum noctanter. Item appellat 

1 Bell clappers (Wright-Wulcher, 567, 39.) » Elected at Michaelmas, 1264. 

3 Bed cloths. 

2o8 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Auiciam Wipe de receptamento unius vacce furate precii \\]s. unde 
eadem Auicia adhuc eidem R. tenetur in xijV. 

LIX. — Simon de Cranele, an accuser^ in Norwich prison, accuses 
5 persons of receiving stolen goods. 

Simon de Cranele, appellator in prisona Norwici, appellat 
Gilebertum filium Radulfi de Shorale de Societate plurium 
latronum, Rogerum le Barwere de Norwico Johannem le Somenur 
de receptamento, Matildam la Saltere de Norwico de receptamento, 
Edam filiam in lege Walter! Marescalli. Manucaptores predicte 
Ede Walterus Marescallus, Thomas Schirreue, Galfridus Scissor, 
Petrus pistor, Johannes de Rauel carpenter, Rogerus de Catton. 
Manucaptores Johannis de Elmham et uxoris sue'' Thomas le 
Corueyler, Johannes Child, Semannus cocus, Walterus Cargo, 
Simon Blaber et Ricardus Bateman. 

LX. — Four parishes declare on oath that John son of James Knot 
found dead on i8 December 1264 with a blow on his forehead did not 
die of the blow but of a fever called meneylun. 

Parochie sancti dementis, sancti Edmundi, sancti Martini 
ante portas Episcopi, sancti Jacobi. Juratores presentant et dicunt 
super sacramentum suum quod Johannes filius Jacobi Knot inuentus 
fuit mortuus in domo sua propria die Jouis proxima ante festum 
sancti Thome Apostoli anno regni regis H. filii regis J. xlix" 
habens quandam plagam in fronte longitudine iij digitorum per 
Galfridum Brun. Inquisicione facta utrum habuit mortem per 
illam plagam nee non, dicunt super sacramentum suum quod non 
moriebatur de plaga ilia set moriebatur de quadam infirmitate que 
vocatur febris acuta et meneylun' et quod nullus inde male creditur 
nisi de infirmitate. Simo seruiens ipsius Johannis inuenit eum 
primo cuius plegius Jacobus frater Johannis defuncti. Propinquiores 
vicini attachiati sunt. 

In the time of the Bailiffs William de Dunwich, Adam de Toftes, 
Nicholas de Ely and Roger de Swathing.' 

LXI. — Four parishes declare on oath that Robert de Wicklewode 
cupper struck Geoffrey de Nedham Smith, on 26 December 1265, a 

1 See note ante on " Approver," p. 201 note 2. 

2 John de Elmham must be the man called John le Somenur (summoner) just before, 
and his wife must be Matilda le Saltere. Family names had scarcely come into use, 

* Meaning unknown. Elected Michaelmas 1265. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 209 

blow on the head whereof he died. Hue and cry was raised by the 
neighbours and pursued to the Cathedral where Robert took refuge. 

Parochie sancti Stephani, sancti Petri de Manecroft, Omnium 
Sanctorum de Swynemarket et sancti Johannis de Berstrete. 
Juratores presentant et dicunt super sacramentum suum quod 
Robertus le Cupper de Wiklewode percussit Galfridum fabrum de 
Nedham cum quodam baculo de quercu et dedit ei plagam in 
capita usque ad cerebrum unde moriebatur. Inquisicio inde facta. 
Dicunt super sacramentum suum quod nullus inde male creditur 
nisi predictus Robertus qui feloniam predictam ei fecit die sancti 
Stephani ad vesperam Anno regni regis H. filii regis J. \J^° et 
statim vicini leuauerunt Hutesium et clamorem usque ad ecclesiam 
sancte Trinitatis. Et predictus Robertus posuit se in ecclesiam 
sancte Trinitatis prenominatam et ibi se tenuit. Preceptum est 
custodiri. Alanus Barlisel inuenit eum primo cuius plegii Ricardus 
de Eton et Ricardus Herre. Willelmus Starling cuius plegii 
Edmundus faber et Galfridus Hakun. Radulfus le Sponere 
cuius plegii Galfridus Hakun et Edmundus faber. Galfridus 
Hakun cuius plegii Willelmus Starling et Johannes le Carter de 

LXII. — Four parishes declare on oath that on 8 July 1266 Nicholas 
Spigurnel then Sheriff of Norfolk in his house in Norwich, hearing a 
dispute taking place between his brother and John son of Simon the 
linendraper intervened. As John fled Nicholas kicked at him and 
missed his stroke, and falling broke his leg and put his foot out of joint, 
whereof he died. Judgment, an accident. 

Parochie sancti Clementis, sancti Saluatoris, beate Marie combuste 
et sancti Botulphi. Juratores presentant et dicunt super sacramen- 
tum suum quod die Jouis proxima post festum Translacionis beati 
Thome martiris anno L^^ venit dominus Nicholaus Spigurnel^ tunc 
vicecomes Norf ad hospicium suum in parochia beate Marie 
combuste et contencio mota fuit inter Thomam fratrem predicti 
Nicholai constabularium et Johannem filium Simonis le lindraper.^ 

1 Harrod {Norf. Arch., ii., 266) quotes the complaints made against this Sheriff in the 
Hundred Rolls. 

2 This person is no doubt "John le Lindraper," whose house was attacked in June 
1264 by people from the Castle (No. LVI.), and Thomas the Sheriff's brother here called 
"Constable" of the Castle is the same as "Thomas le despenser de castro " mentioned 


2IO Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Hoc audito Nicholaus exiuit extra portam suam. Iterum contencio 
mota fuit inter dictum Nicholaum et dictum Johannem Unde 
dictus Nicholaus prosecutus fuit dictum Johannem et Johanne 
fugiente dictus Nicholaus cum pede suo dextro volebat eum 
percutere et de ictu deficiebat. Unde cecidit super gambam suam 
sinistram, unde ossa minuta fracta sunt in duas partes et pes 
suus extra iuncturam exiit. Unde habuit mortem et obiit die 
lune proxima post in castro Norwici. Dicunt super sacramentum 
suum quod nullus inde male creditur nisi per infortunium 
predictum. Propinquiores vicini attachiati sunt. Johannes le 
parcheminer cuius plegii Nicholaus de Denham et Thomas Schip- 
man, Edricus de Mautebi cuius plegii Herueus le tallyur et 
Robertus Walman, Ricardus Grim cuius plegii Robertus Jemme 
et Willelmus de Hunstanneston, Thomas Schipman cuius plegii 
Willelmus Hulot et Hermannus Flaxman. 

In the time of the Bailiffs William le Cunte, William Payn, Roger 
de Swerdeston and John de Meuton.^ 

LXIII. — Richard le franceys of Whinberg came into the full court 
of Norwich on i April 1267 and acknowledged that John Buch had 
ordered him to take to the church of St. Peter Mancroft some goods of 
the Jews stolen in Norwich. The Coroners and Bailiffs went to the 
church but found nothing. Both persons were attached to answer. 

Mem. quod Ricardus le franceys de Qwyneberg venit In plenam 
curiam Norwici die Veneris proxima post festum Annunciacionis 
beate Marie anno regni regis H. filii regis J. L'' primo et recognouit 
in plena curia quod Johannes Buch precepit dictum Ricardum ferre 
ad ecclesiam sancti Petri de Mannecroft Catalla Judeorum in 
Roberia capta in Norwico scilicet unam capam de Blauetto^ et 
unam roketam et unum cresset'. Coronatores et Balliui accesserunt 
ad predictam ecclesiam et nichil inuenerunt de hiis que eidem 
Johanni imposuit. Et preceptum fuit attachiare ambos predictos. 

LXIV. — Four parishes declare on oath that Thomas de Carleton, 
Constable for keeping the peace, hearing a rumour on 31 May 1267 
that the Disinherited Barons were coming to sack and burn the city 
ordered Walter de Sterston sergeant to summon the city. On his 

1 Elected Michaelmas 1266. 

2 A cape of blue, a rochet, and a lamp ("any hollow vessel employed for holding a 
light," Halliwell). 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 2 1 1 

refusing and returning a rude answer Tliomas struck him with a drawn 
sword which he had in his hand and killed him. The Jurors say it 
was an accident and not done with a felonious intent. Thomas' chattels 
were valued at £^2 xos. 4^. and delivered to 4 citizens to keep, except 
his houses and rents. 

Parochie sancti Stephani, sancti Petri de Mannecroft, sancti 
Johannis de Berstrete at Omnium Sanctorum de Swynemarket. 
Juratores presentant at dicunt super sacramantum suum quod 
Thomas de Karlaton^ Constabularius de pace custodienda [quia] 
venit clamor par madiam ciuitatem Norwici quod exheradati 
appropinquarent pradictam ciuitatem ad depredendam illam at 
incendendam die Martis proxima ante Pentecostem anno ragni 
regis H. filii regis J. L° primo predictus Thomas precepit Waltaro 
de Starston seruienti de pradicta Villa ut citarat ciuitatem predictam. 
Ipso resistenta, propter inobedientiam ipsius Waltari dictus Thomas 
increpauit ipsum at, aodem Waltaro turpiter respondando eidam 
Thome habanti gladium euaginatum in manu sua, pulsaado ipsum 
Walterum par infortunium dedit ei quandam plagam in pectore inter 
mamillas unda idem Walterus habuit mortem. Dicunt etiam quod 
non habuit mortem nisi par infortunium prenominatum et non per 
feloniam. Propinquioras vicini attachiati sunt scilicet Galfridus 
de Wichingham cuius plagii Hugo Garland et Thomas da Ho, 
Hugo Garlande cuius plagii Hugo da Bradebek et Radulphus le 
chalunar, Hugo de Bradebek cuius plagii Radulphus Crane et 
Hugo Garlande, Thomas de Hoo cuius plegii Hugo Garlande et 
Radulphus la chalunar. Catalla ipsius Thome appreciantur at 
inuanta ad valantiam iij marcarum at dimid', iijj. v'md. at tradita 
fuerunt custodienda Alaxandro da Weston, Willelmo le Rus, 
Waltero de Weston at Rogaro Bartalmeu exceptis domibus et 

' This cannot be Thomas Spigurnel just mentioned as Constable of the Castle. He 
was evidently a citizen, for his goods when attached were committed to persons who bear 
the names of leading families in the city. He must be the citizen of that name specially 
mentioned among the leaders of the city at the time of the riot of 1272 (No. XXXV.). 
His title here, "Constable for keeping the peace," is of special interest. He would be the 
Chief Constable of the Hundred of the City appointed under the Writ of 1252. His 
summoning the whole city to arms indicates that there was only one such Constable, the 
4 Leet Constables probably dating from the Statute of Winchester 18 years later than this 
entry. The sergeant's hesitation may have been due to the fact that the Disinherited 
Barons had already sacked Norwich on December l6th before this occurrence, and the 
citizens may have feared to oppose them again. 

2 1 2 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

LXV.— William Fot of Hemstede by Hapesburg took refuge in the 
church of St. Gregory on 22 August 1267. The Coroners and Bailiffs 
asked him why, and he acknowledged that he had stolen goods at 
Hemstede and having been caught and imprisoned at Yarmouth had 
escaped. He abjured the kingdom. Sandwich was assigned as his 
port of departure. 

Willelmus Fot de Hemstede versus Hapeburg posuit se in 
ecclesiam sancti Gregorii die lune proxima ante festum sancti 
Bartholomei anno regni regis H. filii regis J. L° prime. Coronatores 
et Balliui accesserunt at interrogauerunt quare ibi se tenuit at ipse 
recognouit coram ipsis quod ibi se tanuit propter latrocinium 
quod parpetrauerat scilicet propter pannos quos furauit apud 
Hemstede at captus fuit apud Garnamutam at incarceratus at da 
carcara illo auasit et ideo ibi se tenuit. Et abiurauit regnum. Et 
habuit portum de Sandwyz. 

LXVI. — Geoffrey Sifteferdhing^ appeals Stephen le Blund for coming 
into his courtyard on 30 August 1267, breaking violently into his house 
with a large following and stealing away many things from his house 
and stripping his orchard. He raised the hue and cry and made fresh 
suit to the Coroners and this he is prepared to prove as the Court adjudges.* 
Stephen was attached. The Bailiffs are to answer. 

Galfridus Siftafardhing appellat Stephanum le Blund quod 
iniquiter at in pace domini regis et in assaltu pramaditato 
vanit ad curiam pradicti G. Siftaferdhing in parochia sancti 
Edmundi in Norwico parum ante mediam noctem nocta martis 
proxima post festum decollacionis sancti Johannis anno regni 
regis H. filii regis J. L'^ prime at fregit sapam suam 
transcandabat mures fragit portas ostia et fenestras at 
seruras et quasiuit demum^ ubi Galfridus iacuit. Domui 
huic fecit insultum cum sequela sua et venerunt cum sacuribus 
gladiis lanceis at fustibus at ab ilia demo asportauarunt lintheamina 
pracii xxviji^. at unum par pannorum lineorum pracii xij^. Ingre- 
diebantur cequinam suam at asportauarunt unam paallam araam 
pracii viji^. at axcussarunt pirarium suum tocius fructus precii 
dimidie marce et asportauarunt et excusserunt pomeria sua tocius 

' Called Geoffrey Shifteferthing in an Estreat Roll of 1275. 

2 "Domus" here is clearly a room or portion of a house {Land. Lib. Oust., p. 799, 
3. V. domus). 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 2 1 3 

fructus precii v sol. Idem G. leuauit hutesium et clamorem et 
fecit recentem sectam apud coronatores et hoc paratus est probare 
per quod curia domini regis considerauerit. Plegii de prosequendo 
Robertus de Fornesete, Radulphus de Akle. Et preceptum fuit 
attachiare predictum Stephanum. Baliiui respondeant. 

In the time of Nicholas de Ely, Adam de Toftes, Roger de Swerdeston 
and Nicholas de Eston.^ 

LXVII. — Four parishes being sworn say that William de Runham 
chaplain took refuge in the church of St. Cuthbert for a homicide. The 
Bailiffs set a watch out of the said parishes, but he escaped without view 
of the Coroners on 13 April 1268. 

Parochie sancti Petri de Hundegate, sancte Marie parue, sancti 
Cuthberti, sancti Petri de Parmentergate, Juratores dicunt quod 
quidam homo nomine Willelmus de Runham capellanus posuit 
se in ecclesiam sancti Cuthberti pro quodam homicidio apud 
Torp perpetrate ut dicitur. BalHui apposuerunt custodiam de 
predictis parochianis et euasit sine visu coronatorum et hoc fuit 
die Veneris in ebdomade Pasche anno LII°. 

LXVIII. — Eliza daughter of Hamo Wotte appeals several persons 
for killing her brother Ralph servant of William Payn on 16 December 
1266. Her appeal was made in the full court of Norwich on 17 April 
1268. On the dorse of the roll is a statement by 9 persons who say 
on oath that Ralph was killed by the Barons. 

Eliza filia Hamonis Wotte appellat Radulphum Muddock 
pistorem, Petrum Cory, Galfridum seruientem Laurencii de Fornesete, 
Radulphum Crabbe, Umfridum Hodio, Lay' seruientem Ade le 
Blund quod iniquiter et in pace domini regis et felonice occiderunt 
Radulphum fratrem suum seruientem Willelmi Payn die Jouis 
proxima post festum sancte Lucie anno LI? et abstulerunt ab eo 
xvij libras sterlingorum. Ista appellacio facta fuit in plena curia 
Norwici die martis proxima post clausum Pascha anno LII° et 
inuenit plegios de prosequendo, Hamonem Wotte patrem suum 
et Galfridum de Horsted. 

[In dorso]. Johannes Popinel, Johannes de Weston, Robertus de 
Burghle, Robertus Lax, Dauid de Okie, Johannes Sweting, Willelmus 
Herse, Johannes le Viner, Walterus Woke dicunt super sacramentum 

1 Elected Michaelmas 1267. 

214 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

suum quod Radulphus seruiens Johannis Payn occisus fuit per 
Barones^ et quod nullus de ciuitate inde malecreditur. 

[The following documents (from LXIX. to LXXXVI.) are similar 
entries to the preceding taken from the reports made at the Eyre which 
commenced at Norwich in January 1286. No Eyre had been held since 
that of 1268. (Case^aj).] 

LXIX. — Walter Eye having been hung afterwards revived and took 
refuge in the Cathedral. He was pardoned by the King.^ 

Anno regni regis Edwardi xiij° temporibus Roger! de Wyleby, 
Ade le Clerk, Jacobi Nade, Willelmi de Burwod Balliuorum Norwici 
contigit quod Walterus Eye fuit dampnatus in curia Norwici et 
suspensus et tanquam mortuus humo prostatus per Willelmum 
filium Thome Stannard. Et dictus Walterus portabatur in quodam 
feretro in ecclesiam sancti Georgii ubi vixit per quindenam et fugit 
ab ilia ecclesia in ecclesiam sancte Trinitatis et ibi fuit quousque 
dominus Rex sibi sectam suam perdonauit. 

LXX. — Nine distant monastic holders of free tenements in Norwich 
are reported for not appearing before the Justices on the first day of the 

Abbas de Sautery," Abbas de Valle Dei, Abbas de Pypewell, 
Abbas de Muriual, Abbas de Warden, Abbas de Cumbes, Abbas 
de Gernedon, Abbas de Wouburn, Prior de Chikesonde. Omnes isti 
habent libera tenementa in Norwico et non fuerunt coram Justiciariis 
prime die. 

LXXI. — Three persons escaped from prison in Norwich Castle and 
were recaptured after 2 days and brought back. 

Contigit quod Edmundus Hamel, Willelmus Palfrei junior et 

^ In JVorf. Arch,, ii. 273 note, Harrod points out that this entry fixes the date of the 
saclc of Norwich by the Barons. He gives the day as December 17th. According to De 
Morgan's Almanacks, St. Lucy's Day (13 December) in 1266 was on Monday. The 
Thursday following would be December l6th. 

2 This important case is given at greater length below (LXXXVII.) from the Assize 

8 Sawtry (Hampshire), Vaudey (Lincolnshire), Pipewell (Northamptonshire), Merivale 
(Warwickshire), Wardon (Bedfordshire), Combe (Warwickshire), Garenden (Leicestershire), 
Woburn (Bedfordshire), Chicksand (Bedfordshire). All these monasteries were Cistercian 
except the last, which was Gilbertine. Several of them are known to have had holdings by 
the river side, presumably for the exportation of wool. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 215 

Radulphus Bencelin de Schotisham euaserunt a prisona castri 
Norwici nocte diei Jouis proximi ante festum Natiuitatis beate 
Marie et postea capti fuerunt apud Hemenhal secundo die et 
reducti ad prisonam castri Norwyci die Sabbati proxime sequentis 
tempore Willelmi de Rothing vicecomitis.i 

LXXII. — William de Loddon clerk was carried away from the City 
prison by Hugo Maydelove who broke the prison by night. He pleaded 
that Hugo forced him and he quickly returned. 

Willelmus de Loddon, clericus, imprisonatus in prisona Norwyci 
portatus fuit ab eadem prisona noctanter ad ecclesiam sancti 
Johannis de Berstrete per Hugonem Maydeloue qui fregit eandem 
prisonam, et idem Willelmus non ausus fuit ei reslstere set in 
breui postea rediit. 

LXXHI. — In 1269 Adam Spindelschanke took refuge in the church 
of St. Swithin and acknowledged that he had made a counterfeit seal of 
the King. He abjured the kingdom. 

Eodem anno quidam homo nomine Adam Spindelschanke 
posuit se in ecclesiam sancti Swithini in Norwico et cognouit se 
fabricasse falsum sigillum contra sigillum domini regis die Sabbati 
proxima post festum sancti Michaelis et abiurauit regnum eodem 
die. Nulla habuit catalla. Non in decenna quia clericus. 

LXXIV. — Gunnilda daughter of Thomas Campely of Sprouston was 
found murdered by Simon son of Thomas de Haggerston of Hokeringe. 
Thomas fled and was captured and imprisoned in the prison of Norwich. 
Afterwards in pursuance of a writ of spite, he was released on bail of 
12 men. Subsequently having committed a theft in the country he was 
hung at Dereham. 

Item eodem anno [56 H. III.] contigit quod quedam Gunnilda 
filia Thome Campely de Sprouston inuenta fuit occisa die Martis 
proxima ante festum Exaltationis sancte Crucis per Simonem 
filium Thome de Haggerston de Hokeringe de quadam sagitta 
quam traxit et ipsam Gunnildam per medium cor percussit unde 
statim obiit. Petronilla filia Willelmi Wrog inuenit eam primo. 
Propinquiores vicini sunt Willelmus faber, Adam Fegge, Robertas 
carpentarius et Galfridus de Stokesby. Et dictus Simo filius 

1 It is strange that the escape of these prisoners from the Castle and their recapture 
in the country should be reported with the City instead of the County business. 

2i6 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

Thome statim post feloniam fugit et nulla habuit catalla. Et 

postea captus fuit et imprisonatus in prisona de Norwico. Et 

postmodum per breue domini regis de odyo et atya' traditus fuit 

in ballium duodecim. Et postmodum fecit furtum in patria pro 
quo suspensus fuit apud Derham. 

LXXV. — Yvo, a chaplain, was burned by a candle falling on the bed 
on which he was lying. 

Item eodem anno [i Edward I.] contigit quod quidam Yvo 
capellanus combustus fuit per infortunium eo quod quedam candela 
cecidit in lecto suo et lectum suum et dictum Yvonem in lecto 
iacentem combussit nocte sancte Scolastice virginis^ unde obiit 
nono die in domo sua. Willelmus Haukin de Hecham fuit cum 
eo quando obiit. Propinquiores vicini Johannes Rikebut, Petrus le 
Mustarder, Simo de Berton et Thomas le Chaundeler. 

LXXVI. — Simon son of Laurence de Schotesham while drawing 
water with a pitcher fell into a pit and was drowned. The price of the 
pitcher and cord, 1 2d., will be answered for by Ernald de Weston. 

Item eodem anno contigit quod quidam Simo filius Laurentii 
de Schotesham inuentus fuit submersus in quodam puteo communi 
qui erat in curia Johannis Martin die sancti Laurentii per infortunium 
eo quod predictus Simo debuisset haurire aquam cum quadam 
ansera" et cecidit in puteo et se submersit. Rosa mater dicti 
Simonis inuenit eum primo. Propinquiores vicini Gilbertus de 
Wichingham, Johannes de Fornesete, Robertus Scot et Ricardus 
de Huneworth. Precium ansere et corde y:!\]d. unde Ernaldus de 
Weston respondebit. 

LXXVII. — Katerine Colne having hung herself with a girdle in the 
Tolhouse, Roger Raysun will answer for the price of the girdle, \d. 

Item eodem anno [2 Edward I.] contigit quod quedam mulier 
nomine Katerina Colne se ipsam suspendit super trabem in theolonio 
Norwici cum zona sua die Sabbati proxima post festum sancti 
Leonardi. Willelmus Stuner inuenit eam primo. Propinquiores 
vicini Rogerus Raysun, Simo de Belhawe, Radulphus le Furbur 

1 By this writ an accused person alleged that the accusation was brought out of spite, 
and was admitted to bail. Here the accused is committed to the charge of 12 men. 
(Pollock and Maitland, Hist. Engl. Law, ii. 587.) 

2 February loth. * Perhaps meant for "anfera "= amphora. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 2 1 7 

et Thomas le Chaundeler. Precium zone id. unde Rogerus 
Raysun respondebit.^ 

LXXVIII. — An Inventory of the goods of Constantine le Tundur, 
which he had when he fled, and who is to account for them. Constantine 
was living in the Tonsoria at Oxford. 

Mem. quod Costantinus le Tundur^ habuit die quo fugit xv 
cumbas brasei de quibus quelibet cumba valuit xviijV. et vicecomes 
inde habet duas partes, et uxor predicti Costantini terciam partem. 
Item habuit unam cumbam et dimidiam frumenti, precium cumbe 
ijj. unde vicecomes habet cumbam et bussellum et uxor predicti 
Costantini unum bussellum. Item habuit unam cumbam frumenti 
quam uxor ipsius Costantini habuit. Item habuit iij cumbas ordei 
quas uxor sua habuit, precium cumbe xviijrf. Item habuit iij 
cumbas ordei quaS Johannes Attetuneshende de Erlham abduxit 
de domo predicti Costantini, precium cumbe xviijV. Item habuit 
utensilia domus ad valentiam iij solidorum que uxor sua habuit. 
Item habuit minuta utensilia domus ad valenciam 'x.\]d. que Willel- 
mus Cracketayle habuit. Item idem Costantinus habuit lanam ad 
valenciam unius marce quam vicecomes habuit. Item habuit duas 
forfices" precii xij solidorum, et Willelmus Payn habuit unam 
forficem precii xs. et Galfridus le Mercer habuit alteram forficem 
precii ijj. Item habuit unum scaccarium et unum vannum precii 
vij^. que Johannes de Skolesthorp fecit ducere in Prioratum et 
ibidem remanserunt. Item habuit ornamenta camere ad valenciam 
ij solidorum que uxor sua habuit. Et idem Costantinus fuit in 
decenna Ricardi Coleman allutarii^ de Norwico. Et manet apud 
Oxoniam in Tonsoria eiusdem ville. 

In the time of William le [sic] Sturmy warden of Norwich^ 
(3 Edward I.). 

^ In the Estreat Roll for 1286 occurs " De eodem Vicecomite de catallis Katerine de 
Colne felonis de se, viijV. " 

2 Tondeur, tonsor, shearer. In the Assize Roll it is stated that "Constantine le 
Tundur stole 24 sheep at Stamford, and was taken in Norwich for the said felony by the 
bailiffs and officers of the Prior of Norwich at the time of the Whitsuntide fair. " 

8 Forfex, a pair of shears ; scaccarium, a chequer, usually a chess-board, but perhaps 
an account table for reckoning by counters (Hall, Antiquities of the Exchequer, p. 117; 
Gross, Gild Merchant, ii. 275). 

^ Cordwainer, shoemaker (London Lib. Alb., iii. 376; Streets and Lanes of 
Norwich, 26). 

5 Warden of the city during the forfeiture of the liberties after the riot of 1272. 

2i8 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

LXXIX.— William Wynch was found dead in the street from bodily 

Contigit quod Willelmus Wynch inuentus fuit mortuus ex 
debilitate corporis in via regia in Fivebriggate.^ Margareta Trehe 
inuenit eum primo. Propinquiores vicini Ysaak de Catton, Johannes 
Martin, Ricardus Mareschall et Godwynus Faber. 

LXXX. — Walter de Swerdeston being imprisoned in the street of 
Newgate by the bailiff and officers of the Prior and Convent of Norwich 
had escaped from their custody in the time of William le Sturmy, then 
Warden of Norwich. 

Contigit quod Walterus de Swerdeston captus fuit per Willel- 
mum de Causton et imprisonatus in vico de Neugate per balliuum 
et ministros Prioris^ et Conuentus Norwici, et euasit de custodia 
eorum tempore Willelmi le Sturmy tunc custodis Norwici. 

LXXXI. — Walter Turpin, of Keteringham, took sanctuary, and 
acknowledging himself guilty of theft and homicide, abjured the 

Contigit eodem anno [3 Edward I.] quod Walterus Turpin de 
Keteringham fugiebat in ecclesiam sancti Johannis de Berstrete 
die lune proxima post festum sancti Botulphi anno predicto" et 
cognouit se esse latronem homicidam et abiurauit regnum die 
Mercurii proxima post. Nulla habuit catalla. Balliui tunc temporis 
Adam de Toftes, Henricus de Heylesdon, Rogerus de Wyleby et 
Willelmus de Rollesby.* 

LXXXII. — Eleuisa de Eydone was taken in the Jewry of Norwich 
with stolen goods. She was imprisoned in the Tolhouse and escaped. 

^ On the question of the original form of this word, see Streets and Lanes of 
Norwich, 84. 

■' Newgate was claimed by the Prior till 1305 (Introduction III. 7). The Prior's 
tenants were fined lOOj. for the escape. The Citizens were fined an equal amount for the 
escape of Hugo Maydelove in No. LXXII. » 24th June, 1275. 

* In the list of Wardens and Baihffs since the preceding Eyre given at the beginning of 
the Assize Roll of 14 Edw. I., the names of these four Bailiffs do not occur. It is said that 
"William de Esturmy remained Warden of the city till the feast of the Ascension in the 4th 
year" {14th May, 1276) when he was succeeded by the four Bailiffs mentioned in the next 
entry to this. But they are also mentioned in other entries relating to February and March, 
1276. The Patent Roll of 3 Edw. I., also contains a restitution of the city to the citizens 
in the 3rd year which ended 20th November, 1275. The statement made to the Itinerant 
Justices in 1286 must therefore be wrong. Sturmy occurs as Warden in March, 1275. 
Before June 24th of that year the four Bailiffs here mentioned must have been appointed, and 
probably at Michaelmas were succeeded by those named in the next entry. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 2 1 9 

Contigit [anno quarto] quod quedam mulier Eleuisa nomine 
de Eydone^ capta fuit in iudaismo Norwici cum uno cypho de 
maze^ precii \\\)s. quem furauit ad domum Rogeri de Bassingham, 
capta et detenta in prisona tholonii Norwici die cene' et nocte 
proxima sequente fregit prisonam et euasit de custodia. Adam 
de Toftes, Rogerus de Morlee, Geruasius le Tanur et Tiiomas de 
Lincoln tunc balliui Norwici. 

LXXXIII. — Lecia le Paumere was drowned in a pit in the Old Swine 
Market through an attack of frensy. 

Contigit quod die Martis proxima ante festum sancti Bainabe 
Apostoli* anno predicto quedam mulier Lecia le Paumere nomine 
inuenta fuit submersa in quodam puteo in Holdswynemarket per 
morbum freneticum^ superuenientum. Johannes filius eius inuenit 
eam primo. Propinquiores vicini Vincentius de Kyrkeby, Rogerus 
de Berwyk, Rogerus le Werthere et Willelmus MoUe. [Same year 
and Bailiffs.] 

LXXXIV. — A child five years old was killed by a " stroke of thunder 
and lightning." 

Contigit die Sabbati post festum Natiuitatis beate Marie Virginis 
anno supradicto* quedam infantula Christiana nomine etate v 
annorum inuenta fuit mortua in Superior! Newport per ictum 
tonitru et fulminis. Agnes mater eius inuenit eam primo. Pro- 
pinquiores vicini Galfridus de Kyrkeby, Adam Makabe, Ranulphus 
de Hahenwrth et Ricardus Stedesfot. Balliui tunc temporis Adam 
de Toftes, Willelmus de Yeluerton, Johannes Bate et Rogerus de 

LXXXV. — [January 13th, 1279] — Thomas Dust, being let down into a 
well in the courtyard of Henry de Senges by a well-maker, fell out of the 
bucket and died of the foul air at the bottom of the well. Henry will answer 
for the price of the cord and bucket (8^.). 

Contigit quod Thomas Dust inuentus fuit mortuus in quodam 
fonte qui erat in curia Henrici de Senges per infortunium die 
veneris proxima post festum sancti Hyllarii eo quod fuit dimissus 
in quodam fonte per quoddam bukettum et cordam et cecidit extra 

1 In the Estreat Roll the "whole city" is fined looj-. for the escape of Helewisa de 

2 Maser, maple. •' Thursday in Holy Week, 2nd April, 1276. 

* 9th June, 1267. ^ Frensy, madness. " 12th September, 1276. 

2 20 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

bukettum ad fundum fontis et statim obiit per corrupcionem aeris 
quod erat in dicto fonte. Ricardus Priur inuenit eum primo. 
Propinquiores vicini Galfridus de Costinoble, Willelmus le Komber, 
Johannes ad fontem et Yvo le ganyer. Precium corde et buketti 
\\\]d. unde Henricus de Senges respondebit. Et Rogerus le 
Wellemaker dimisit ipsum in fontem. 

LXXXVI. — [loth year, 1282] — Hugo Waukel and Thomas Heved 
were drowned while asleep in a leaky boat by Brundall. William Albon 
will answer for the price of the boat (55.). 

Contigit quod quidam Hugo Waukel et Thomas Heved 
inuenti fuerunt submersi in communi rypa sub Villa de BrundaF 
in crastino decollacionis sancti Johannis Baptiste^ per infortunium, 
eo quod sicuti predict] Hugo et Thomas venerunt de Gernemuta 
in quodam batello dicti Hugo et Thomas dormiuerunt et ipsis dor- 
mientibus intrauit aqua in dicto batello per quoddam foramen et 
submerserunt. Juliana uxor eius inuenit eos primo. Propinquiores 
vicini Hugo de Bromelm, Alexander le Rus, Thomas de Surlingham 
et Semannus Wrinel. Precium batelli vs. unde Willelmus Albon 

The Case of Walter Eghe. 

LXXXVn. — Juratores presentant'* quod Walterus Eghe die 
Lune in prima septimana quadragesime anno regni Regis nunc 
tercio decimo, tempore Rogeri de Wileby, Ade le Clerk, Jacobi Nade 
et Willelmi de Burwode Balliuorum Domini Regis captus fuit per 
indictamentum ad Letam* Ciuitatis pro pannis furatis ad domum 
Ricardi de la Hoe et aliis latrociniis et postea die Mercurii proxima 
sequente ductus fuit coram eisdem Balliuis et tota Communitate 
totius ciuitatis in Tolboty et coram eis sine secta alicuius 

1 Brundall is four miles from Norwich by the river. The persons attached as "nearest 
neighbours " are known to have been connected with the Leet of Conesford, which was the 
nearest part of the city. See the similar case of the accident at Cantley (No. LXXXVIIL). 

2 30th August, 1282. 

8 This extract is from the Assize Roll of 14 Edward I. in the Public Record Office, 
571, m. 89. The case is given in the Tcrwn Close Evidences, p. 10. The date of the 
indictment was 12th February, 1285. 

J The 1st Monday in Lent was the usual day for beginning the Leet Presentments. 
See Introduction XII. 3. 

^ On this' court and the offence committed by the citizens on this occasion, see 
Introduction XI. 3. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 2 2 1 

occasionatus qualiter se voluit acquietare de latrocinio ei imposito 
de bono et malo posuit se super patriam. Et Balliui predict!, 
simul cum communitate predicta, fieri fecerunt inquisitionem 
si culpabilis esset vel non, per quam inquisitionem compertum fuit 
quod predictus Walterus culpabilis fuit, ob quod ipsi suspendi 
ipsum Walterum adiudicarunt et ipsum suspenderunt, et cum 
prostratus fuisset a furcis et delatus ad ecclesiam sancti Georgii ad 
sepeliendum inuentus fuit viuus. Et juratores requisiti per quern 
predictus Walterus prostratus fuisset a furcis predictis dicunt quod 
per Willelmum filium Thome Stanhard qui venit et hoc bene 
cognouit. Ideo ipse committitur Gayole. Catalla predicti Walteri 
iiij marce unde Vicecomes respondebit. Et testatum est quod 
predictus Walterus moram fecit in Ecclesia predicta per quindecim 
dies et ibidem custoditus fuit per parochias sancti Petri de 
Hundegate, sancte Marie parue, sanctorum Simonis et Jude et 
sancti Georgii ante portam Ecclesie sancte Trinitatis et qui post 
quindenam sequentem a custodia earundem parochiarum euasit. 
Ideo ad iudicium de euasione super quatuor parochias predictas.i 
Et idem Walterus postquam euasit posuit se in Ecclesiam sancte 
Trinitatis Norwici et ibidem moram fecit quousque dominus Rex 
perdonauit ei sectam pacis sue,^ et qui modo venit et profert 
cartam domini Regis nunc in hec verba, " Edwardus Dei Gracia, 
etc." . . . . Et predicti Balliui ciuitatis predicte simul cum 
Communitate eiusdem requisiti qua auctoritate predictum Walterum 
suspendi adiudicauerunt et suspenderunt sine secta alicuius vel 
manuopere dicunt quod dominus Rex ad Pascha proxime sequens 
postquam hoc factum euenit venit in partes istas et datum fuit 
ei intelligi quo modo predictus Walterus suspensus fuit, ob quod 
ipse misit Johannem de Lovetot ad ciuitatem istam ad inquirendum 
de facto predicto et qui pro eodem facto cepit libertatem ciuitatis 
predicte in manum domini Regis et que remansit in manu domini 
Regis usque ad parliamentum suum proxime sequens. Et postea 
ad parliamentum suum predictum ciuitatem predictam eis reddidit 
per cartam suam." 

The Jurors present that Walter Eghe on Monday in the first week of 
Lent in the 13th year of the King now in the time of Roger de Wileby, 
Adam le Clerk, James Nade and William de Burwode Bailiffs of the lord 

1 The four parishes were fined looj-. for the escape (Estreat Roll). 

2 The King released him from further proceedings. 

» The grant of restitution was dated at Westminster, 27th May, 1285. A permanent 
addition of 40J. to the fee farm rent was exacted. 

2 22 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

King was taken by indictment at the Leet of the city for stealing cloths 
at the house of Richard de la Hoe and other larcenies and afterwards 
oh Wednesday next following was led before the said Bailiffs and the 
whole Community of the whole city in Tolboth and before them, without 
any man's suit, being vexatiously demanded how he would acquit himself 
of the larceny charged upon him, for good and evil put himself on 
the country. And the said Bailiffs together with the said Community 
caused an inquest to be held whether he were guilty or not, by which 
inquest it was found that the said Walter was guilty wherefore they 
adjudged the said Walter to be hung and they hung him, and when 
he was taken down from the gallows and taken to the church of St. 
George to be buried he was found to be alive. And the Jurors being 
asked by whom the said Walter had been taken down from the said 
gallows said it was by William son of Thomas Stanhard who came and 
fully acknowledged it. Therefore he is committed to gaol. The chattels 
of the said Walter were 4 marks whereof the Sheriff will answer. And 
it was testified that the said Walter stayed in the said church for 15 
days and there he was guarded by the parishes of St. Peter de Hundegate, 
St. Mary the Less, St. Simon and Jude and St. George before the gate 
of the church of the Holy Trinity and after the quindene following he 
escaped from the custody of the said parishes. Therefore to judgment 
for the escape against the said 4 parishes. And the said Walter after 
he escaped put himself into the church of the Holy Trinity of Norwich 
and there stayed until the King pardoned him the suit of his peace, 
and he now comes and proffers the present lord King's charter in these 
words, Edward by the grace of God, &c. . . . And the said Bailiffs 
of the said city together with the Community of the same being asked 
by what authority they adjudged the said Walter to be hung and hung 
him without any man's suit or with the mainour say that the lord King 
at Easter next following after this deed took place came into these parts 
and was given to understand how the said Walter was hung, wherefore 
he sent John de Lovetot to the city to enquire concerning the said deed, 
who for the said deed took the liberty of the city into the hand of the 
lord King, which remained in the hand of the lord King until his 
parliament next following. And afterwards at his said parliament he 
restored the said city to them by his charter. 

Inquest on Persons drowned at Cantley, 1343. {O.F.B. f. xx.) 

LXXXVIII. — Concerning those drowned near Cantele. 
It chanced on the night of Sunday next after the feast of St. 
Luke Evangelist in the 17th year of the reign of King Edvirard 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 223 

the 3rd after the Conquest^ that a certain boat called Blitheburghesbot 
loaded with men and goods coming from Great Yarmouth to 
Norwich sank near Cantele in the King's river called Wensom 
belonging to the City of Norwich. On hearing which Thomas de 
Morlee Coroner of the lord King for the City of Norwich, Roger 
Verly and Richard de filtering Bailiffs of the said City came to 
the said place belonging to the City of Norwich on Monday next 
following and made inquest concerning the same [de premissis 
inquisiverunt], as follows : 

Inquest held in the suburb^ of the City of Norwich in the 
King's river which is called Wensom belonging of old to the 
liberty of the said City outside Conesford near Cantele on 
Monday. . . . before Thomas de Morlee one of the Coroners 
of the liberty aforesaid and before Roger Verly and Richard de 
Bitering Bailiffs of the said City then and there present by 
William de Blitheburgh, John Bullok, Richard the clerk, Richard 
de Walsingham, Nicholas de Weston, John son of Hubert de 
Hakeford, Walter le Messager, John Pauy, John Salle, John de 
Brigge, William de Melton and Richard Bayle Jurors of the 
Leet of Conesford, to enquire concerning a boat called Blithe- 
burghesbot loaded with divers goods men and women accidentally 
sunk in the said river near Cantele ; Who say upon their oath 
that the said boat was laden with sea coal [carbonibus maris] of 
the value of lox, salt in gross [sale grosso] value I2d., 3 barrells 
of iron called Osmond" value i mark, i quatron^ of bord called 
Ringold'^ value 4^., onions' and herrings value 2s. and with men 
and women drowned in the said river Wensom near Cantele to 
the number of 40, which river belongs to the City of Norwich. 
And the said sinking happened there on the night of Sunday. . . . 
And they say that the cause of the said misfortune and sinking was 
from a great rain that fell that night and the darkness of the 

1 19th October, 1343. 

2 The citizens had jurisdiction over the river down to Breydon Water, then extending 
much further inland than now. For the purpose of carrying out this jurisdiction they 
technically call the whole 16 miles of river a " suburb " of Norwich. Cantley was nearly 
at the extreme limit. 

3 Osmonds are said to have been small bars of Swedish iron, imported in barrels, 
fourteen barrels making a last containing 4,800 lbs. of iron. See a paper by Mr. 
Micklethwaite in Antiquary, vol. xxxiV., p. S3- 

■* Twenty-five, a quarter of a hundred. 

5 Wood from Riga [Lib. Alb. Land., iii. 356, rygholt.) 

6 Ononis, perhaps for "onionibus." 

2 24 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

night and the great and strong wind and the immoderate loading 
of goods and people which the boat could not bear. [lo bodies 
were recovered and the first finders were attached]. . . . They say 
also that the nearest neighbours to the said river are Richard 
Bullok, Richard le Clerk and William de Melton.' And they 
say that Henry de Happesburgh and Nicholas Eghe who were 
in the boat escaped alive and gave the above testimony. No 
Englishry^ was presented because the City of Norwich is quit 
therefrom by charter of King Henry HI. 

Extracts from Deeds enrolled in the City Court at the close 
of the 13th Century. They are chiefly selected 
with a view to illustrate the " Custumal " and the 
"City Courts." (Case i a. Rolls i and 2.) 

Rotulus Cartarum recognitarum et in plena. Curia Norwici 
traditarum et in eadem Curia indorsatarum anno regni regis 
Edwardi tercio decimo Incipiens die mercurii proxima post festum 
Apostolorum Petri et Pauli Temporibus R. de Todenham et Jacobi 
Nade Balliuorum Norwici" (4 July, 1285). 

Roll of Charters acknowledged and in the full Court of Norwich 
delivered and in the same Court indorsed in the 13* year of the reign of 
King Edward. Beginning on Wednesday next after the feast of the 
Apostles Peter and Paul In the times of Roger de Todenham and James 
Nade Bailiffs of Norwich. 

LXXXIX. — Thomas de Wulpit chaplain and Juliana widow of 
John le Maschun executors of the said John produce his testament in 
court directing the sale of a certain curtilage. They execute a deed of 
sale according to the terms of the testament. 

1 Evidently these persons, 2 of whom are on the Conesford Jury, were inhabitants of 
Conesford of which the whole river is treated as an extension. They could not attach the 
people near the spot for they would be out of their jurisdiction. 

2 This notice is curious, for presentment of Englishry had been abohshed by Statute of 
14 E. III. (1340) three years before this accident. The Bailiffs and Coroners preferred to rely 
on the authority of a Charter of King Henry III. The exemption from murder fines was 
originally granted by Richard I., and Henry III. had only reaffirmed it in his own name 
(No. VI.). Since then their privileges had been confirmed by E. I. (No, IX.), E. II. 
(No. XII.) and quite recently by E. III. in 1337. The claim had been presented to 
and allowed by the Itinerant Justices in 41 H. III. (Book of Pleas, xxvi. d.), and 
probably this sanction had been constantly referred to from that time. 

8 The liberties had just been restored after a short forfeiture. Only two Bailiffs sat 
till Michaelmas. (Introduction III. 7.) 

Method of Enrolment of Charters. 

Portion of Membrane II. of the second Court Roll (or Bundle of Enrolments), This 
Bundle contains 59 membranes of parchment &stened together at the top, and comprises 
787 enrolled deeds (nearly all deeds of conveyance) between I287'!and 1298. 

The last enrolment at the foot runs thns : 

" Be it remembered that Stephen del Gemer [de granario, of the monastic granary] 
came into the Court of Norwich on Saturday next after the feast of St. Matthias Apostle in 
the i6th year of the reign of King Edward son of King Henry [28 Feb., 1288] and 
acknowledged that he had granted and given to Sir Peter Rocelin and his heirs for his 
service and for a certain sum of money which he gave to him in hand a piece of land lying 
in the town of Norwich in the parish of St. Vedast in Nether Conesford between the 
laessuage of the said Sir Peter on the west and the messuage of the Abbot of Sibeton 
towards the east and abuts upon the watercourse running towards the main river towards 
the south and npon the common way which leads from the Friars Minors to the main river 
towards the north. To hold and to have, etc. Rendering therefor yearly to the aforesaid 
Stephen and his heirs one grain of pepper at the Nativity of the Lord ; and to the capital 
lords oi that fee the services due and accustomed therefrom. And the aforesaid Stephen 
and his heirs will warrant acquit and defend etc. And thereupon he delivered his deed 
sealed with his seal to the aforesaid Sir Peter, Which deed is enacted [enrolled] by the 
band of John de Ely clerk. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 225 

Memorandum quod Thomas de Wulpit capellanus et Juliana 
uxor Johannis le Maschun^ executores testamenti predict! Johannis 
venerunt et protulerunt testamentum predicti Johannis in plena 
Curia Norwici in quo continetur quod predictus Johannes legauit 
unum Curtilagium cum domibus et edificiis in parochia sancti 
Edmundi de Norwico inter messuagium Jacob! Knot ex parte 
occiderite et messuagium Gode Knot et messuagium Ricardi 
clerici de Crek ex parte oriental! et abuttat ad unum capud 
super foueam^ que dicitur Fredisch ex parte aquilonis et aliud 
capud super regiam viam ex parte australi, ad vendendum secundum 
disposicionem testamenti. Quod quidem curtilagium cum omnibus 
pertinentiis predicti executores vendiderunt Willelmo Albon et 
heredibus suis et inde tradiderunt cartam suam sigillis eorum 
sigillatam lectam et traditam in plena Curia Norwici die Mercurii 
proxima post festum Translacionis sancti Thome martyris anno 
regni regis Edward! filii regis Henrici xiij° que quidem carta 
indorsata est per manum Johannis de Ely cleric!' coram J. Nade 
et R. de Tudenham tunc balliuis Norwici.* 

(Wednesday, 11 July, 1285). 

XC. — Andrew de Rokelund and Ralph le Scoudere, as executors of 
Henry le Porter, come into court and prove his testament on oath, by 
which he leaves one half of his messuage to his wife and her unborn infant 
and the other half to his daughter, the longer liver to have the whole. The 
clause is enrolled. 

Memorandum quod Andreas de Rokelund et Radulphus le 
Scoudere* venerunt in plenam curiam Norwici die Jouis in vigilia 
sancti Laurent!! anno regni regis Edward! tercio decimo et per 
sacramentum suum legacie probauerunt testamentum Henrici le 
Porter in qua continetur quod legauit Matildi uxor! sue et infant! 

1 Mason. ^ a ditch. » The Common Clerk of the City. 

* Besides the particulars contained in this deed, the enrolments generally include the 
"habendum et tenendum" clause, the "reddendo" clause with mention of services, and 
the promise of ' ' warranty " by the grantors. The next deed, a grant from Geoffrey de 
Bungeya and Anabilla his wife to Roger de Tudenham and Isabella his wife, is dated the 
same day and is endorsed in the presence of James Nade alone, the other Bailiff withdraw- 
ing as one of the parties concerned. This practice is frequently to be noticed. The three 
following deeds are dated respectively on the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday after the 
Translation of St. Benedict (12th, 13th, 14th July) and are endorsed before both Bailiffs. 
Thus the Court sat on four consecutive days. So also the same two BaiUffs were sitting for 
this business on 9th, loth, and nth August. 

^ The same as Qwyttower or White-tawer, dresser of white leather. Kirkpatrick 
Streets and Lanes of N'oritiich, p. 40. 


2 26 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

in ventre eius existenti medietatem totius mesuagii sui cum 
medietate domorum in parochia sancti Michaelis ad placita in 
Norwico et aliam medietatem iUius mesuagii legauit Alicie filie 
sue. Et ille [sic] qui diutius vixerit dictum mesuagium integre 
habeat et retineat in perpetuum. Et ista irrotulacio facta fuit die 
supradicto coram R. de Tudenham et Jacobo Nade tunc Balliuis 
Norwici. (9 August, 1285.) 

XCI. — John the clerk son of Adam Page of Norwich grants to 
John de Runhale chaplain a plot of vacant land in S'- Peter Mancroft 
which abuts on the Cockey. The grant includes license to build over 
the cockey and the vacant land which license had been obtained by 
John from the Community of the Citizens of Norwich. 

Johannes clericus filius Ade Page de Norwyco venit in plenam 
Curiam Norwici die Jouis proxima post festum sancti Michaelis 

anno xiij° finiente et cognouit se concessisse et 

dedisse Johanni de Runhale capellano unam placeam terre vacue 
quam dictus Johannes clericus adquisiuit de Willelmo filio Petri 
But in Norwico in parochia sancti Petri de Manecroft cum omnibus 
aysiamentis et pertinenciis suis Jacentem inter mesuagium Rogeri 
de Penteneye versus occidentem et viam regalem versus orientem 
et versus aquilonem que ducit de Sellaria versus Curiam Comitatus 
et abuttat super terram Galfridi de Bungeye versus austrum. 
Concessit etiam dictus Johannes dicto Johanni capellano edificare 
pro voluntate eius et heredum suorum tenementum prenominatum 
tam super Cokeyam^ ibidem dispositam ex parte occidentali dicte 
placee terre quam super eandem vacuam placeam secundum tenorem 
impetracionis carte dicti Johannis clerici quam inde habuit ex 
Communitate Ciuium Norwici saluo ibidem racionabili et debito 
cursu Cokeye supradicte sine impedimento. Reddendo inde 
annuatim dicto Johanni clerico et heredibus suis x soHdos argenti 
ad duos anni terminos videlicet ad Pascha v s et ad festum sancti 
Michaelis v s. Et inde tradidit cartam suam sigillo suo signatam 
in plena Curia predicta coram Adam de Thoft, Rogero de Morleye, 
Galfrido de Bungeye et Willelmo But tunc Balliuis Norwici. 
Que quidem carta indorsata est per manum Johannis de Ely 
clerici. (4 October 1285.) 

XCII. — Simon le Palmer acknowledges in the Court of Norwich 
the sale of a messuage in All Saints, Leicester, formerly belonging to 

1 Cockey, a local word for a stream or watercourse, now used of a drain. 

Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 227 

his father. He deUvers to an attorney his sealed letters patent, with 
the seal of the Community of Norwich in witness of his seal. 

Mem. quod Sitno le Palmer venit .... die Jouis 
proxima post festum Omnium Sanctorum anno tercio decimo 
finiente et cognouit se vendidisse Roberto filio Willelmi le Kellerer 
de Leycestre unum mesuagium cum pertinenciis quod quondam 
fuit Johannis de Stertesford patris sui in villa de Leycestre in 
parochia Omnium Sanctorum. Et attornauit Robertum Ded de 
Leycestre loco suo ad ponendum dictum Robertum in plenam 
seisinam dicti mesuagii cum pertinenciis. Et inde fecit dicto 
Roberto Ded literas suas patentes et procurauit sigillum Com- 
munitatis Norwici apponi in testimonium sigilli sui. Et carta 
feofamenti indorsata est per manum Johannis de Ely clerici. 
(8 November 1285.) 

XCIII. — A butcher and his wife obtain 3 marks (40J.) in return 
for an annual rent of i>s. payable quarterly out of their messuage. By 
a collateral agreement they may release the whole by payment of 40^'. 
within 4 years, or release 12 pence of annual rent by each payment of 
half a mark (6.y. id.). If not released within the appointed term the 
annual rent of bs. is to remain permanently. 

[Geoffrey de Eston, butcher, citizen of Norwich, and Matilda 
Guraunce his wife .... on Wednesday after the feast of 
S'- Edmund Archbishop in 14"^ Edward beginning^ granted to 
William de Burwode citizen of Norwich, for 3 marks of silver 
paid into their hands, 6 shillings of annual rent^ to be paid 
quarterly in equal portions out of the messuage of Geoffrey and 
Matilda in the parish of S'- Peter Mancroft in the Overrowe. 
They will warrant the rent and suffer distraint in default of 
payment. Then follows the collateral agreement]. 

Set dictus Willelmus de Burwode cognouit dicto die Mercurii 
quandam conuencionem a latere inter eos esse factam que talis 
est quod quandocunque dicti Galfridus et Matildis soluerint dicto 
Willelmo aut heredibus eius quadraginta solidos infra terminum 
quatuor annorum proxime post supradictum diem Mercurii subse- 
quentium plenarie quod dictus Willelmus et heredes sui relaxabunt 
predictis Galfrido et Matild' et omnino quietum clamabunt totum 
ius et clameum quod habent in predicto redditu. Et quandocunque 

1 2lst Nov. The regnal years of Edward I. began on 20th November. 

2 This was a method of obtaining a loan. The annual rent took the place of interest, 
which was prohibited as usury. 

2 28 Selected Records of the City of Norwich. 

et quotienscunque dicti Galfridus et Matildis infra predictum 
terminum soluerint dicto Willelmo aut heredibus suis dimidium 
marce quod dicti Willelmus aut heredes sui relaxabunt .... 
xij denarios predict! redditus. Et nisi prout predictum est dicto 
Willelmo aut heredibus suis satisfecerint infra terminum predictum 
concedunt dicti Galfridus et Matildis quod predicti sex solidi 
annualis redditus remaneant dicto Willelmo et heredibus suis 
hereditarie in perpetuum. Ita quod nee ipsi Galfridus et Matildis 
in predicto redditu aliquod ius exigere vel vendere poterint. 

XCIV. — ^Nicholas de Ingham and Gundreda his wife grant to their 
son Walter all their stone houses in Fibriggate. A year afterwards a claim 
is made on behalf of Gundreda. 

Mem. quod Nicholaus de Ingham et Gundreda uxor eius 
venerunt per attornatos suos vidz. Johannem de Ingham et 
Rogerum de Tudenham .... die lune post festum sancte 
Lucie virginis anno .... xiiij">° [17 Dec. 1285] et 
cognouerunt se concessisse et dedisse .... Waltero filio 
dictorum Nicholai et Gundrede omnes demos suas lapideas in 
villa de Norwico .... in Fibriggate . . . Reddendo 

inde .... ciuibus Norwici per decem annos subsequentes 
ad emendacionem dicte ciuitatis quolibet anno decem solidos et 
capitalibus dominis feodi seruicia debita et consueta pro omni 
seruicio. Et dicti N. et G warrantizabunt &c. 

Johannes de Kenington communis amicus apposuit clameum 
nomine dicte Gundrede die lune proxima po